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Listen with Your Eyes 

Interpreting Images in the Spiritual Exercises 

Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

31/2 • MARCH 2000 


The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in 
the United States. 

It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and prac- 
tice of Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the 
members of the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF 
JESUITS. This is done in the spirit of Vatican IPs recommendation that religious 
institutes recapture the original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the 
circumstances of modern times. The Seminar welcomes reactions or comments in 
regard to the material that it publishes. 

The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the Jesuits 
of the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits of other 
regions, to other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. Hence, the 
journal, while meant especially for American Jesuits, is not exclusively for them. 
Others who may find it helpful are cordially welcome to make use of it. 


William A. Barry, S.J., directs the tertianship program and is a writer at Cam- 
pion Renewal Center, Weston, MA (1999). 

Richard A. Blake, S.J., teaches film studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, 
MA (1998). 

Philip J. Chmielewski, S.J., teaches religious social ethics at Loyola University, 
Chicago, IL (1998). 

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., teaches Old Testament at Weston Jesuit School of 
Theology, Cambridge, MA (1997). 

Gerald M. Fagin, S.J., teaches theology in the Institute for Ministry at Loyola 
University, New Orleans, LA (1997). 

Richard J. Hauser, S.J., teaches theology and directs the graduate programs in 
theology, ministry, and spirituality at Creighton University, Omaha, NE 

Thomas M. Lucas, S.J., chairs the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and 
teaches therein at the University of San Francisco, CA (1998). 

John M. McManamon, S.J., teaches history at Loyola-Marymount University, 
Los Angeles, CA (1999). 

Edward T. Oakes, S.J., teaches theology at Regis University, Denver, CO 

John W Padberg, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar, editor of STUDIES, and direc- 
tor and editor at the Institute of Jesuit Sources (1986). 

Timothy E. Toohig, S.J., a high-energy physicist, does research and administra- 
tion in Washington and lives at Georgetown University, DC (1997). 

The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. Parenthe- 
ses designate year of entry as a Seminar member. 

Copyright © 2000 and published by the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality 
3601 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 
(Tel. 314-977-7257; Fax 314-977-7263) 

Listen with Your Eyes 

Interpreting Images 
in the Spiritual Exercises 

Richard A. Blake, S.J. 


31/2 • MARCH 2000 

Of all things . . . 

The authors and editors of STUDIES try to make sure that whatever appears 
in this periodical is reasonably clear. A subject may of its nature be abstruse and us 
treatment may be appropriately dense. But we hope that you know what we want to 
say, even if at times it may require a mite of perseverance on your part to do so. 
Thus, it is with a sort of perverse joy that we came across what The Chronicle of 
Higher Education has called "a strong contender for our Worst Prose of the Century 
Prize." Robert Louis Stevenson, in his story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, described a 
fire in a grate and a lamp on a shelf lit while "even in the houses the fog began to lie 
thickly." A practitioner of narrative theory says that this description is 

a deliberate "poetics of misdirection," in which the reader's interpretative 
energies are turned away from the hermeneutic, semic and symbolic pat- 
terns which would be expected to sustain a "cultural" code (in Barthes's 
sense of a social referent or message" of fin de siecle social decay and 
hypocrisy). Instead, the play of narrative identities and code manipulation 
compels the reader's interpretative energies elsewhere, in the continual 
seeking of the moral flaw proscribed by the narrative's over-subtle but 
persistently suggestive signs. 

So there! Sometimes you may have been tempted to think we were obscure. 
But if ever contributors do in their prose rise to such sublime heights, please let us 

More seriously, in the light of the proliferation of "New Age" religions, it 
may be salutary to recall, as Peter Steinfels, a religion writer for the New York Times, 
noted, that "any list of the world's major religions in the year 2000 looks very much 
like the list of the world's major religions in the year 1000." It is true that there have 
been some dropouts, religions that have disappeared or radically declined, such as the 
Norse Pantheon or the Meso-American religions or Zoroastrianism. And some 
regional faiths, such as Shinto or Jainism, existed then and exist even now. But "there 
have been no new [worldwide] contenders." A thousand years ago the major religious 
families of today were already major religious families — Hinduism, Buddhism, Confu- 
cianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They have all undergone a variety 
of changes and splits, but they are still recognizable as the same faiths. New religions 
do mushroom, of course— everything from Scientology to Sheilaism (the personal 
religion of a particular young woman named Sheila). But so far experience bears 
witness that unless in some way they attach themselves to or are absorbed by one of 
the great long-lasting religious traditions, they eventually disappear. As Steinfels says, 
"Logically, there seems to be no reason why this must be so. But a pattern of more 
than a thousand years standing cannot be ignored." For us Jesuits all of this lends 
more urgency to the words of General Congregation 34 calling upon us to consider 
interreligious dialogue a prime characteristic of our apostolic work now and in the 

From overarching considerations to down-to-earth particulars: Sometimes 
each of us is so caught up in his own work that he is unaware of what is happening 
in other apostolates. Nothing world shaking, but here are a few such particulars 
about Jesuit secondary education in the United States, an apostolate of extraordinai f 
challenge and effectiveness. Of the 2,743 full-time faculty in the forty-six U.S. Jesuit 


secondary schools, Jesuit priests, brothers, and scholastics total 219 (7.9%). Laymen 
are 1,752 (63.3%) and lay and religious women 746 (27.1%). All others total 26 
(1.2%). Ethnic minorities among all teachers in the schools of all ten provinces 
constitute 8.42 percent. The province with the greatest number of ethnic- minority 
teachers is California, 63 out of 420. Hispanic- Americans with 111 teachers and 
African-Americans with 74 make up the two largest such groups in the forty-six 
schools. And finally, more than twenty-seven million dollars was given in financial 
aid to almost ten thousand students in those Jesuit high schools last year. For other 
such information and much more besides, look at the JSEA Bulletin, which regularly 
comes to each Jesuit community. 

In the first sentence of the preface to his latest book, Walter J. Burghardt, 
S.J., writes, "An autobiography this is not." He is right; Long Have I Loved You: A 
Theologian Reflects on His Church is not, strictly speaking, an autobiography. But it is, 
as he says, the author reflecting on "realities and events, movements and changes, 
crises and quandaries, theology and spirituality, church and world." It is also, as one 
reviewer remarked, "a truly masterful combination of church history, history of 
theology and all its disciplines. . . . Anyone who wants to know anything about the 
church and theology in the last eighty years must read this book by one who 'has 
been there and done that'!" The men and women with whom Father Burghardt has 
reacted, either personally or vicariously through his reading and scholarship, range 
from St. Anthony the Hermit to Yves Congar, from Martha Graham to Irenaeus of 
Lyons, from Archbishop Jadot to Macrina the Younger, from Cardinal Spellman to 
Elizabeth Schiissler Fiorenza, from Ignatius of Loyola to C. S. Lewis. Chapters such 
as "From Seminary to University: Theology Yesterday and Today," "From Manresa 
to El Salvador: Jesuit Spirituality," "From Cain to Anti-Christ: Social Injustice and 
the Just Word," "From Eve to Mary to . . . ?: Women in the Church," and "From 
Hippocrates to Kevorkian: Catholicism in the Medical Profession" give a sense of the 
flavor of the book. For those who experienced the Church before Vatican II and 
then during the council, when "bliss was it in that dawn to be alive," the book will 
summon up extraordinarily powerful memories. But by no means is it a nostalgic 
tour of the past. Fr. Burghardt may start with the past in each of the chapters, but in 
every one of them he moves with assurance up to the present circumstances within 
which the Church finds itself. A very good read! 

And from the past: Three hundred and fifty years ago, in 1650, the Ninth 
General Congregation had to deal with postulata that complained of teachers "said to 
waste time on useless questions . . . and treat their subject matters in jumbled order," 
and with other postulata "seeking relief against some . . . professors who neglected 
the useful and more necessary questions and pursued the less useful and the less 
necessary." The congregation was too wise to tackle the problem head-on. It referred 
to the Ratio studiorum and commended the problem to the "vigilance of provincials 
and rectors." 

John W. Padberg, SJ. 




Presound Comedy 1 

Postliterate Prayer 3 

Scripture's Benevolent Hegemony 4 

The Exercises and the Word 6 

Varieties of Contemplation 8 

The Manresa Experience 8 

Image and Conversation 1 1 

A Note of Caution 15 

Image without Scripture 16 

Printing and Writing 19 

Pablum for the Soul? 23 

Redeeming Images 25 

The Point of Repetition 27 

The Elements of Cinema 28 

Techniques of Film Making 31 

Scripting the Incarnation 33 

More Than Reportorial Accuracy 38 

Beyond Serendipity 40 



On p. 179 of the Catalogue of the American Assistancy 
for the year 2000, the telephone and fax numbers of the 
Institute of Jesuit Sources are incorrectly listed. We retain 
our customary numbers: 

Telephone: 314-977-7257 
Fax: 314-977-7263 

Please make these corrections immediately in your copy 
of the catalog, while the memory is still fresh. 

Listen with Your Eyes 

Interpreting Images in the Spiritual Exercises 


Presound Comedy 

Charlie Chaplin runs into a crowded restaurant, slips on some soapy 
water on the floor, and lands spectacularly on his posterior analytics. Marie 
Dressier, her ample frame filling the screen and providing the customary foil 
for the diminutive clown, rushes to his aid, hits the same slippery spot, and 
crashes down on him like a mighty sequoia falling on a chipmunk. This 
scene from Tillie's Punctured Romance, a Mack Sennett masterpiece from 
1914, might be considered funny; but if Chaplin, Dressier, and Sennett were 
looking at the rushes with a class of undergraduate film students today, they 
might conclude that Charlie should quit the movie business and take up a 
more promising career, like selling floor wax, soap powder, or collision 
insurance. No one in the class dares to desecrate the silence of the screening 
room with laughter. 

Anyone hearing this story would readily conclude that their reac- 
tion is, of course, predictable. Classrooms, no less than churches, represent 
serious space; and serious students, like serious churchgoers, carefully 
insulate themselves from anything potentially enjoyable. (Homiletic humor 
is more than an oxymoron; it is blasphemy.) This explanation makes sense, 
but it does not stand up to the empirical data, as serious scholars in the 
serious disciplines would say. When the Chaplin clip runs a second time, 

Richard A. Blake, S.J., is former executive editor of America, where he has been 
doing film reviews since 1975. At present he is professor of Fine Arts and codirector of the 
Film Studies Program at Boston College. His recent books include Woody Allen: Profane 
and Sacred, and "Afterimage: The Indelible Catholic Imagination in Six American Film 
Makers, " scheduled to appear in the summer of 2000. 

2 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

this time with the sound on the dubbed track turned on, even the most 
serious you've-got-to-give-me-an-/l-in-this-course-or-my-life-will-be-ruined 
students will giggle, titter, or guffaw. 

The more accurate explanation, I've concluded, is that students— and 
their parents and teachers, for that matter— cannot "see" a joke. They need 
audio cues, like the tinkling piano music of the chase, the drum role and 
cymbal crash of Charlie's slip-and-fall, and the bass drum thud of Marie's 
impact, before they realize that they are watching something funny. 
Television sitcom producers understand this principle quite well. They have 
mastered the art of adding laugh-tracks to the tapes to tell viewers when 
something funny has happened on the screen. The electronic laughter 
provides the same effect as music for silent film (or sound film as well), and 
it has the advantage of being cheaper than a studio orchestra. 

The sad fact, I believe, is that several centuries of literacy have 
robbed us of the ability to see. We are children of word and concept; we are 

uncomfortable, or at least insecure, with 
silent images presented on canvas and 

Often the creative process ™ rble ' L screen ;> nd sta Sf- We don>t even 

T . * . know when to laugh unless someone gives 

can be quite mysterious. • i L j 1 a 

x T ri J , us a proper signal on the sound track. As 

even to the mm makers h.l-j c a 

J my gallant brigade or serious and not-so- 

serious silent-movie students march 

through Porter, Griffith, Chaplin, Keaton, 

Murnau, and Flaherty, my relentless 

— ^^^^— ^^^^^^^^— exhortation ripens into a mantra. "Inhale: 

listen with your eyes; exhale: listen with 

your eyes." 

Does this analysis bear the scent of heresy? It may. For several 
decades now, common-sense orthodox doctrine has affirmed that television 
addiction at an early age explains the decline in reading and writing skills 
among even very bright students. It seems to make sense. The corollary 
asserts that since the one-eyed monster first appeared in the living room, 
children have moved directly from the teething ring to the remote as the toy 
of choice. As a result, in this "postliterate" age young people today handle 
images with much more facility than they can handle words, as though print 
literacy and image literacy appear in inverse proportions within a fixed 
quantity of interpretive ability. Unfortunately, this commonly proposed and 
rarely substantiated thesis does not bear up under scrutiny. Children of the 
television age, like my Chaplin critics, are not particularly adept at seeing 
the forms and interpreting images they see on a screen before them. People 
have to learn how to read pictures and movies just as they progress pains- 

"Listen with Your Eyes" *!* 3 

takingly from letters, to words, to sentences, to literature. To maintain the 
opposite— that is, the orthodox position— is to propose some insupportable 
theory of infused knowledge. 

To accept my observations as worthy of reflection is to stare down 
the barrel of paradox. Who can deny that this past century has gradually but 
irresistibly enshrined the image? At millennium's end, a goodly proportion 
of us in the industrialized world spend hours each day staring at television 
screens and computer monitors. Newsweeklies and newspapers alike have 
become more lively visual experiences, with photographs, icons and graphs 
replacing good, solid, gray Times-text. In this regard, USA Today has become 
more trendsetter than pariah. Simply put, my point is that in many 
contemporary cultures images communicate a great deal of information, but 
at the same time most of us have given little thought to understanding what 
they do and how they work. But what does all this have to do with prayer? 

Postliterate Prayer 

By way of coming attractions, in the latter sections of this essay, I 
hope to use several key ideas from the literature of film criticism to develop 
a series of analogies— some obvious, others a bit of a stretch— that might 
provoke some reconsideration of the purely visual elements in the Spiritual 

First, in creating an image for the screen, film makers select and 
position items within the frame, devise movement and sound down to 
precise detail and move their cameras according to careful, predetermined 
choreography. Occasionally, when a shot is particularly effective, one may 
call it "inspired." Analogously, in prayer the painstaking process of creating 
an image to contemplate can be undertaken in an attitude of humble 
acceptance of God's grace. God "inspires" us to construct the image in one 
way and not another, just as one can say God "inspires" us to select and fix 
upon one word or phrase of a Bible text. 

Second, often the creative process can be quite mysterious, even to 
the film makers themselves. In interviews and statements, they can be 
maddeningly vague about why they chose one image over another and what 
the image means and what effect is intended. Many find it difficult to 
verbalize their "inspiration." Interpreting the film and articulating its 
dynamics in a public and communicable language is the work of the critic. 
After careful interpretation, the film critic can attempt to judge its meaning 
and effectiveness on the basis of interior factors, like craftsmanship, and 
exterior factors, like social relevance. Similarly, after an image or series of 
images has been contemplated in prayer, a form of criticism— like reflection, 

4 * Richard A. Blake, S J. 

discernment, and conversation with a spiritual director— takes place to 
unearth the meanings and evaluate their import. This is scarcely novel. 
Retreatants routinely jot down in a journal or discuss with a spiritual 
director the passages in Scripture that spoke to them, and try to work out 
what God is saying to them at a particular point in their lives. Simply 
stated, contemplated images, the films we prayerfully construct in our minds, 
no less than the words of Scripture, demand the same careful work of 
analysis and appreciation that a film critic performs in a screening room. 

In the pages that follow, I'd like to suggest that this observation 
might stimulate a few ideas about interpreting, making, and directing the 
Spiritual Exercises in an age of images. My remarks are intended to 
supplement and perhaps reinvigorate the more traditional, text-centered 
approach to retreats, not to replace it. If we expend some effort in creating, 
pondering, and interpreting the many pictorial images suggested in the text 
of the Exercises, then we also discover a different style of prayer, a different 
language with which to engage in our ongoing dialogue with God. 

Scripture's Benevolent Hegemony 

The question under consideration here is not whether the Bible 
scholarship of the last half century has succeeded in opening the 
riches of both the Scriptures and the Spiritual Exercises— most 
emphatically, it has— but whether its undoubted success has caused the other 
forms of prayer proposed in the Spiritual Exercises to be undervalued and 
neglected. I would suggest, then, that both the experience of St. Ignatius in 
composing the Spiritual Exercises as recalled in his "autobiography" and the 
text of the Exercises suggest that the nonverbal elements in prayer were 
central to the prayer of Ignatius and his followers in his day and that they 
also provide an important supplement to the current practice of purely 
scriptural prayer. 

More precisely, in no way should my comments be construed as an 
attempt to compromise the primary role of Scripture in prayer. Like most 
American Jesuits, I have filled the oversized margins of my own red, dog- 
eared copy of Puhl's 1968 edition of the Spiritual Exercises with Scripture 
references. 1 Each year I add a few more. As director, I draw upon these key 

1 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Based on Studies of the Language of the 
Autograph, trans. Louis J. Puhl, S.J. (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press). Originally 
published in a standard-size cloth edition, this work was reissued in 1970 in paperback 
form by Loyola Press of Chicago, then called Loyola University Press. This edition 

"Listen with Your Eyes" *!• 5 

texts to provide suggestions; as retreatant, almost unconsciously I evaluate 
directors on their ability to provide previously unfamiliar texts or original 
spins on the old favorites. For me, the Exercises and Scripture are 
inextricably joined, and in all probability they will remain so. 

This was not always the case. Reliance on Scripture for the private 
prayer made during a retreat marks an enormous change from the old-style 
preached retreat so common in the preconciliar period of this century. Not 
to be confused with today's "guided" retreats, during which conferences 
often prepare a group for their own individual private reflections on 
Scripture, these earlier styles of retreats given for religious as well as lay 
people routinely consisted of a series of exhortations, conferences, and 
sermons, where the success of the experience was frequently measured by 
the rhetorical skills of the retreat master. In some instances, little time for 
personal prayer was anticipated after the oral presentation, and reading a 
good spiritual book rather than weighing the words of Scripture filled the 
rest of the day. 

Building on the enormous advances in Bible scholarship in the 
preceding years, the Second Vatican Council changed the way Catholics 
regarded the Bible, and consequently the way we made retreats. 
Fortuitously, the widespread development of the directed-retreat movement 
and other forms of more personalized prayer occurred in harmony with the 
council's unequivocal message about Sacred Scripture: 

[L]ike the Christian religion itself, the preaching of the Church must be 
nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the 
Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with 
them; and the force and power of the word of God is so great that it 
remains the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her 
sons, the food of the soul, the pure and perennial source of the spiritual 
life. . . . 

Easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian 
faithful. 2 

In a note to this paragraph, R. A. F. MacKenzie, S.J., the prominent 
Scripture scholar chosen to do the introduction to the text of the document, 
refers to this statement as "most novel." He continues, "Not since the early 
centuries of the Church has an official document urged the availability of the 

features wide margins. 

2 "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei verbum)," chap. 6, nos. 
212f., in The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M Abbott, S.J. (New York: Guild, 
1967), 125f. 

6 4* Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

Scriptures for all." 3 Not only did this new attitude toward Scripture as a 
privileged source of God's revelation transform the Sunday sermon into a 
homily on the readings of the Lectionary, but it also changed the content 
and style of the Spiritual Exercises. In the years immediately following the 
council, the times of private reflection on the texts of Scripture became more 
central to the retreat experience than the presentations of the retreat master 
or other devotional practices. 

The Exercises and the Word 

At this point the decades of scholarship invested in revitalizing the 
study of Scripture that preceded the council's endorsement of the primal role 
of Scripture in the life of the Church bore extraordinary dividends for the 
Spiritual Exercises. To cite one arbitrarily selected but obvious example, as 
early as 1967 David Stanley, S.J., published his splendid study A Modern 
Scriptural Approach to the Spiritual Exercises. In its pages, he illuminated key 
Scripture texts with the light of contemporary Bible scholarship and applied 
the newly understood meanings to the appropriate exercises. In his 
introductory comments, he echoes the theme of the council by explaining 
Scripture as a privileged form of God's self-revelation. 4 As the title of the 
book indicates, Stanley is using Scripture as the most important and perhaps 
the only way to approach the Exercises, and his and other similar 
approaches have been considered normative ever since. 

Despite his heavy reliance on Scripture, by no means does Stanley 
suggest that making the Exercises can be reduced to a technique of literary 
analysis. One engaged in prayer, he explains, must involve the whole person 
to grasp God's message in its entirety. As a result, contemplation and the 
involvement of the senses help one to grasp the full meaning of the text. 
"The Ignatian contemplation," he writes, "aims at showing the exercitant 
how to integrate himself into the dialogue between God and man in his own 
era and culture." 5 (Stanley's use of noninclusive language marks him as a 
person of his own era and culture.) He develops the argument by continuing 
the analogy between prayer and human dialogue. At the risk of 
oversimplifying his point, we could interpret Stanley as assuming the 
primacy of the language in prayer. In this view, nonverbal avenues of prayer, 
like images, while useful, become mere access roads that eventually lead to 

3 Ibid., 126 n.50. 

4 David M. Stanley, S.J., A Modern Scriptural Approach to the Spiritual Exercises 
(Chicago: The Institute of Jesuit Sources and Loyola University Press, 1967), 8. 

5 Ibid., 5f. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" -V 7 

the interstate, which is Scripture-centered prayer. Of necessity scriptural 
prayer originates in words and leads to dialogue, which by its nature consists 
in words. 

Although I may overstate the case a bit to point out the emphasis 
on verbal communication and linguistic analogies that have become 
commonplace in today's thinking about the Exercises, Stanley's position is 
neither narrow nor prescriptive. He merely writes from his own perspective 
and expertise, which is language. In fact, twenty years later, in / Encountered 
God! The Spiritual Exercises with the Gospel of St. John, he criticizes 
nineteenth-century Jesuits for speaking "almost exclusively of 'meditation' to 
the neglect of the abundant variety of 'ways of praying' indicated in the 
Ignatian text itself." 6 In this later study he reveals extraordinary 
perceptiveness on the use of the senses, especially vision, in the text of 
John's Gospel (25-29). Stanley explains the extent to which John relied on 
the senses to recount the signs of Jesus' self-revelation that he includes in his 
Gospel. In subsequent chapters, he demonstrates that Ignatian 
contemplations, of course, invite a re-creating of John's vivid narrative 
through the powers of the imagination. He argues persuasively that the 
visual imaginations of John and Ignatius complement each other effectively 
in a retreat situation. 

Although Stanley's reflections ascribe enormous importance to the 
senses, for him the written text of Scripture remains supreme. Significantly, 
he entitles one section of this chapter "The Senses in the Service of the 
Gospel." This is perfectly consistent with his understanding that 
"meditation" precedes "contemplation" as a form of preparation. One begins 
by meditating on a text and at some moment marked by grace reaches a 
point of contemplation, when the prayer becomes a more personal 
encounter with God; and this in turn leads to a deeper appreciation of the 
text. In the Ignatian language, this deeper, more personal grasp of the words 
and concepts can be called "consolation." 7 As he carefully explains through 
the words of Ignatius, this "consolation" must be understood with the 
proper realization of "receiving the gifts, of their origin 'from above' " (16). 
It seems reasonable to conclude that human activity is confined to 
meditating upon texts, either Scripture or the Exercises, while contemplation 
requires a gift from God. 

6 David M. Stanley, S J., / Encountered God! W?e Spiritual Exercises with the 
Gospel of St. John (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1986), 13. 

7 Ibid., 14. 

8 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

Varieties of Contemplation 

Since I will be using the term "contemplation" with a much more 
earth-bound sense, as I believe Ignatius does, a distinction is important at 
this point. In his supplementary notes to The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine 
and Practice, a comprehensive study of Jesuit spirituality by Joseph de 
Guibert, S.J., the editor, George E. Ganss, S.J., draws a clear line between 
"infused" contemplation, also called "mystical prayer," which is a pure gift 
from God, and "acquired" contemplation, which "is the result both of the 
person's activity and of grace. He [the human subject] can take a certain 
initiative." 8 Ganss cautions, however, that "there is not as sharp a division 
between these forms of mental prayer as the unwary might suppose." As an 
example of the ambiguity in the term, he cites Ignatius, who in the 
meditation on the Incarnation seems to use contemplation to mean simply 
"seeing in the imagination." 9 As such it can be discursive, the result of 
reasoning, or affective, the personal response to what is being viewed. 

As I use the term "contemplation," I do not mean anything 
particularly extraordinary. On the contrary, I will stress almost exclusively 
the role of human activity in struggling with visible pictures in the 
imagination, just as Stanley and the rest of us who make the Exercises 
regularly wrestle with the words of a text in the intellect. Constructing a 
scene, or doing a "composition of place," as Ignatius quite frequently invites 
the retreatant to do, need not be merely a brief stage setting or prelude to 
the meditation. It can be a rewarding, illuminating form of prayer in its own 
right, as it seems to have been for Ignatius himself. 

The Manresa Experience 

Although his conversion began with words, first reading romances 
and then the lives of Christ, St. Francis, and St. Dominic during his 
recuperation at Loyola, Ignatius almost immediately converted what he read 
into the stuff of fantasy. Some of these fantasies were decidedly secular in 
content and possibly obsessive. He writes in his autobiography, "Of the 
many foolish ideas that occurred to him, one had taken such a hold on his 
heart that he was absorbed in thinking about it for two and three and four 
hours without realizing it: he imagined what he would do in the service of a 

8 Joseph de Guibert, S.J., The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice (St. 
Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1972), 606. 

9 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, ed. and trans. George E. Ganss, S.J. (St. 
Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources. 1992), nos. 101-17 (pp. 56-59). Subsequent 
references to the Spiritual Exercises in this essay are made to this edition. 

'Listen with Your Eyes 

certain lady" (6). 10 On one occasion, he recounts his recollection of an image 
that did not seem to be the result of any deliberate daydreaming on his part, 
but rather an unprovoked phantasm: "[H]e saw clearly an image of Our 
Lady with the holy Child Jesus" (10). The sight of this likeness, he 
continues, led him to feel "such loathing for his whole past life, and 
especially for the things of the flesh, that it seemed to him that his spirit was 
rid of all the figures that had been painted on it." As a final experience of his 
conversion period, he describes being so moved by passages from a life of 
Christ that he copied out these passages in inks of various colors; but in the 
next sentence, he remarks, "The greatest consolation was gazing at the sky 
and the stars, which he often did and for long, because he thus felt within 
himself a very great impulse to serve Our Lord" (11). 

The narrative presents clear evidence of an enormous variety in 
Ignatius's experiences of visual prayer during this period. Fantasies about 
doing great deeds like those of St. Francis and St. Dominic obviously "arose 
from the things he read" (7). Similarly, the fantasies about serving a noble 
lady had their roots in the romances, and the vision of the Blessed Mother 
and Child was no doubt 

suggested by reading the life """"""" ~'^~"" l ~~"™™" , " , " ,, ' , ""^~^~ 

of Christ. His contemplation The narrative presents clear evidence 
of the heavens, however, of an enormous variety in Ignatius's 

seems spontaneous and experiences of visual prayer during 

without being suggested by this period. 

readings. Some arose from 

such intense effort that only ^— — — ■■■■■ ^ — ^^—» 
when "he tired of it [he] put 

it aside and turned to other matters" (7), while others seem to have taken 
him quite by surprise. In reference to the appearance of our Lady, for 
example, he writes simply, "[I]t may be considered the work of God" (10). 
Some seemed to fit into a pattern of ongoing reflection, while others led 
directly from visual experience to a change in his life. Thus the sight of 
Mother and Child freed him from images of "offenses of the flesh," and 
gazing upon the heavens led directly to a desire "to be serving our Lord." 

During the months at Manresa the following year, 1522, Ignatius 
continues to find great consolation and strength from his visual experiences, 
which by this time clearly fall into the category of "infused" contemplation, 

10 A Pilgrim's Testament: The Memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola As Transcribed by 
Luis Goncalvez da Camara, trans. Parmananda R. Divarkar, S.J. (St. Louis: Institute of 
Jesuit Sources, 1995). Here and later, numbers enclosed in parentheses following texts 
written by Ignatius indicate the paragraph numbers of the document cited; in citations 
from other books, they indicate page numbers. 

10 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

that is, a gift from God communicated spontaneously without planning on 
the part of Ignatius. During a stay in the local hospital, he saw "something" 
that "seemed to him to have the form of a serpent with many things that 
shone like eyes, though they were not. He found great pleasure and 
consolation in seeing this thing" (19). At the same time, images brought 
disquiet. After resolving to abstain from meat, he recalls, "edible meat 
appeared before him as if he saw it with his ordinary eyes" (27). Although 
his confessor believed this image might be a temptation, Ignatius was certain 
that it was a sign that he should eat meat. 

At the conclusion of this homey story about his dietary strategies, 
Ignatius composes a list of five "points," as he calls them, each of which 
involves an instance of illumination, and each of which occurs to him in the 
form of some visual representation. 

1. As he was at prayer, he saw the Trinity "in the form of three 
musical keys" (28). As a result, he continues, "the effect has remained with 
him throughout his life of feeling great devotion while praying to the Most 
Holy Trinity." 

2. He reached a profound understanding of God's creating the world 
when he saw "something white from which some rays were coming, and 
God made light from these" (29). He adds, "He did not know how to 
explain these things." 

3. While attending Mass, "he saw with the interior eyes something like 
white rays coming from above. Although he cannot explain this very well 
after so long a time, nevertheless what he saw clearly with his understanding 
was how Jesus Christ our Lord was there in that Most Holy Sacrament" 

4. At prayer during this time, he frequently "saw with interior eyes 
the humanity of Christ. The form that appeared to him was like a white 
body, neither very large nor very small, but he did not see any distinction of 
members" (29). He adds an intriguing comment: "[H]e has often thought to 
himself that if there were no Scriptures to teach us these matters of faith, he 
was resolved to die for them, solely because of what he had seen." 

5. Sitting on the banks of the Cardoner, Ignatius experienced an 
illumination— not a vision, he insists— that enabled him to see and 
understand "both spiritual things and matters of faith and of scholarship" 

Ignatius frustrates his readers with these recollections. Not only are 
the descriptions of the images extremely vague, but the conclusions he draws 
from them are nonexistent. As Ganss and de Guibert both point out, 
Ignatius and his followers were extremely reluctant to speak of gifts of 

'Listen with Your Eyes" + 11 

infused contemplation. 11 The reasons they offer are complex. Ignatius 
realized clearly that such prayer is simply a gift from God, and he could do 
little to explain it. In his autobiography, he simply and modestly mentions 
that "something" happened. The best he can offer is a description in some 
detail about the observable circumstances surrounding it. For example, in 
describing the event at the Cardoner, he recalls that he was going to a 
church possibly called St. Paul's, about a mile distant from Manresa. The 
road ran close to the river, and he sat facing the water, which was deep at 
this point. After recounting these circumstances carefully, he says of his 
experience that "everything seemed new to him. The details that he 
understood then, though there were many, cannot be stated" (30). 

In recalling the months at Manresa, Ignatius feels perfectly free to 
recount minute personal details of his digestive disorders and personal 
hygiene, like cutting his hair and nails, his diet, and the length of time he 
spent on his knees in prayer. The moments of personal intimacy with God, 
however, seem beyond words for him. The contrast with the account of his 
earlier Loyola experience is also striking. He cites the books he read during 
his recuperation, what thoughts they provoked in him and how he acted 
upon what he read or imagined as a result of his reading. He is willing to 
communicate a great deal about texts and concepts, as have his 
commentators through the centuries, but much less about the images that 
seem to have been equally important in his ongoing dialogue with God. 

This apparent emphasis on texts and external details in Ignatius's 
own writings and in his later commentators, coupled with their reluctance to 
treat in detail many "visions," should not lead to a conclusion that he 
thought images were superfluous in prayer. As I hope to show, the reverence 
for visual images that Ignatius developed during the period in which he felt 
God speaking to him most vividly in nonverbal signs leaves clear traces in 
the Spiritual Exercises, which he was composing during his months at 

Image and Conversation 

Even though he is reticent about his own visual prayer, and his 
development of visual imaginings receives relatively little attention in more 
recent Bible-centered experiences of the Exercises, Ignatius's actual reliance 
on scriptural and non-scriptural images in the pages of the Spiritual Exercises 
is quite extensive. From the perspective of today's world of readily available 
and generously annotated Bibles, the frequency and importance of imaginary 

11 Ganss, Spiritual Exercises, 165; de Guibert, Jesuits, 562. 

12 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

situations seems quite remarkable. As people of words and concepts, we look 
upon polychrome, illustrated Bibles and prayerbooks as somewhat suspect. 
We might generously explain Ignatius's frequent use of these images in the 
context of his times. One would be tempted to attribute it to the historical 
period in which printed Bibles were less accessible and some prospective 
retreatants could be expected to be illiterate. 12 As Europe worked its way out 
of the medieval world and into the Renaissance, stained glass and didactic 
paintings on the walls of churches filled the ordinary believers' need for 
spiritual nourishment and inspiration. It was quite reasonable that Ignatius 
should include the kinds of visualizations that the devout would be 
accustomed to. 

This explanation may be too facile, however. In years immediately 
after Manresa, the Exercises became more than a private spiritual journal and 
set of personal reflections. Ignatius soon began to use his notes to lead others 
step by step to greater levels of commitment and intimacy with God, and 
the mode of transmission was conversation. In these exchanges between 
director and retreatant, words, texts, and concepts more easily lend 
themselves to the discernment process and election than do detailed 
descriptions of pictures that develop in the imagination. No doubt these 
visualizations made the conversations between director and retreatant more 
difficult, and an astute editor using feedback from the field would suggest 
minimizing them. Ignatius certainly realized that images are sloppy, 
inconclusive, and — if his own writings are any indication— all but ineffable. 
Nonetheless, in his roles of author, editor, and practitioner he continued to 
include them. Fantasies and visual images had played an important role in 
his own life, and he believed they could be useful in helping him lead others 
to God. 

Surely, Ignatius did not expect many of his retreatants to experience 
the gifts of "infused" contemplation that he had received, and just as surely 
he knew that he could not presume to lead anyone to that point. What he 
did seem to expect is that those making the Exercises would routinely find 
God speaking to them as they labored to construct detailed pictures of, for 
example, the "Temporal King," whose call contrasts with that of the 
"Eternal King" (91-97). In the book of the Exercises, it should be noted, these 
imaginary scenarios by themselves provided the prayer for the entire day. 
Today, commonly, these imagined scenes would be used to suggest a theme 
to be explored in a series of Scripture passages. For example, on the pages 
that contain the Meditation on the Two Standards (136-48), my own copy 

12 In the Introductory Explanations of the Exercises, no. 18, Ignatius explicitly 
makes provision for those who are illiterate. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" *b 13 

of the Puhl edition of the Exercises contains fourteen texts listed in the 
margins, from Kings and Isaiah through Matthew, the Epistles, and Revelation. 

In his remarkable essay "Loyola," Roland Barthes offers a series of 
helpful reflections on the nature of this kind of prayer of imagination. 13 In 
presenting his various contemplations and visual meditations, as Barthes 
accurately notes, Ignatius composes only the vaguest of suggestions. To 
establish his case, Barthes chooses the example of the meditation on hell to 
show that the images in the Exercises are "banal, skeletal" in comparison to 
other ascetical writers of the period, who piled detail upon detail to make 
their images of hell ever more frightening. One could also note at this point 
that Barthes's observation is quite congruent with Ignatius's reluctance to 
offer any details about his own visual experiences in his autobiography. In 
both cases he offers only a lapidary hint about what he has seen. 

Barthes believes that Ignatius regards the imagination as an 
intellectual cipher. He does not ask retreatants to draw the images either 
from vivid descriptions given orally by the director, from the printed page, 
from paintings, or from their own "reservoir" of images drawn from 
memory. The imagination must be given free rein to operate completely on 
its own, with total originality. Everything that distracts from the subject of 
contemplation must be eliminated, so that the resulting construction of an 
original visual picture in the imagination takes place exclusively through the 
collaboration between the exercitant and God. 

Barthes's observation suggests two further reflections. First, the one 
making the contemplation deliberately empties the mind of past images, like 
a favorite painting, statue, or pictures derived from the words of Scripture, 
from poetry, or ascetical writing; thus the retreatant begins with a blank 
canvas, and the process of filling it provides the opportunity for "the Father 
in heaven [to meet] His children and [speak] with them," much as God does 
with the words of Scripture. In other words, creating the images from 
nothing without adapting prior material can, under the guidance of grace, 
become an experience of divine inspiration. This principle was clearly 
enunciated in the second of the Introductory Explanations, when Ignatius 
cautions the director to offer "only a brief or summary explanation. For in 
this way the person who is contemplating, by taking this history as the 
authentic foundation, and by reflecting on it and reasoning about it for 
oneself, can thus discover something that will better bring understanding or 
a more personalized concept of the history— either through one's reasoning 
or insofar as the understanding is enlightened by God's grace" (2). The 

13 Roland Barthes, Sade, Fourier, Loyola, trans. Richurd Miller (New York: Hill 
and Wang, 1976), 50, 52. 

14 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

personal, private image created under God's inspiration clearly holds a 
greater value than the image recollected and reconstructed from external 

Second, the human effort involved in the act of the individual 
imagination becomes totally liberated from precedent. It is free to create 
without restriction from external realities. This is important, since we 
children of the current century are victims as well as beneficiaries of the age 
of science. C. S. Lewis, for example, writes that if he tried to re-create the 
scenes of the Gospel stories, he would be distracted by his modern sense of 
archaeology: "I'd know I wasn't getting them right." 14 Surely, he is not alone 
in his reluctance to free his imagination from the academics' compulsion for 
accuracy. And although we can all point out the disastrous effects of a 
misguided imagination in creating bad religious art, I might suggest that the 
problem for Lewis and for the rest of us probably lies in precisely the 
opposite direction. Rather than risk creating images poorly, we are content 
not to create them at all. This freedom of the imagination to form its own 
image resonates easily with the current practice of reading Gospels more as a 
series of illuminating stories about Jesus than as a biography composed to 
meet today's criteria for scientific historical accuracy. 

What is the scope of the liberated imagination at work on the blank 

canvas? It is limitless, and thus not bound by historical or archaeological 

reality. For example, rather than trying to 

^^"■"■" picture the clothes and utensils Jesus used, 

T . • .» i . r the look of his face (as suggested from 

In privileged moments of r • 1 \ 

, . prior experience or a painting, perhaps;, 

vrace% ztje creative < 1 1 r 1 • / 1 • 1 

* . r 1 r an d the sound or his voice (speaking the 

imagination, freed from American English of a fine actor or radio 

literal truth, can approach announcer ), i t ma y be just as "accurate" 
God in the most unlikely f or tne purposes of contemplation to see 

guises in the most Christ in the face of a loved one, in the 

surprising settings. wasted body of an AIDS patient or in the 

African or Asian features of those we join 
■■^ — ^-^^— ' m ministry. Perhaps, too, the school or 

parish or prison may provide a more 
suggestive setting for meeting the Lord than Galilee as presented in the pages 
of the National Geographic or as reproduced in biblical movies. A modern 

14 C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt, Brace 
& World, 1964), 84. This particular essay is cited in Ernest C. Ferlita, "The Road to 
Bethlehem— Is It Level or Winding? The Use of the Imagination in the Spiritual Exercises," 

Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 29, no. 5 (November 1997): 9. 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!• 15 

artist like Georges Rouault (1871-1958) never felt the need for scientific 
accuracy as he created extremely moving portraits of Jesus outlined in thick, 
black brush strokes. When casting his Jesus of Montreal (1989), the Canadian 
film director Denys Arcand found his Jesus in an out-of-work actor living in 
contemporary Montreal; and when preparing La Strada (1954), the Italian 
Federico Fellini found him in a circus clown played by Richard Basehart. In 
privileged moments of grace, the creative imagination, freed from literal 
truth, can approach God in the most unlikely guises in the most surprising 
settings. In such moments as these, prayer is the poet's revenge on the 

A Note of Caution 

Ignatius and his followers have been understandably cautious in 
dealing with contemplations for fear of "illusions." 15 This caution is 
particularly appropriate in the case of possible "infused" contemplation; but 
since there is continuity and overlapping between the gift of mystical prayer 
and more ordinary forms of contemplation currently under discussion, this 
hesitation deserves a moment of reflection even as we consider the type of 
contemplation more familiar to most of us. The warning is not frivolous. 
The visual imagination, no less than the intellect, provides fertile ground for 
self-delusion. In prayer, a person may construct a mental image that may be 
just as misleading as a skewed interpretation of a Scripture passage. A self- 
induced hallucination can be as disruptive of efforts to serve Christ as an 
eisogetic, idiosyncratic, and wrong-headed reading of a Gospel passage. Both 
can lead to inappropriate conclusions. 

The same safeguards are available in both cases, however. Within 
the text of the Exercises, Ignatius provides an extensive list of rules for the 
discernment of spirits (313-36). Two are particularly pertinent. First, the role 
of a director can be helpful (326). While the contemplation itself is personal, 
almost ineffable, as Ignatius's own writings testify, still the effort to describe 
an image with some particularity and weigh its various meanings and 
consequences with a sensitive director can help peel away possible self- 
deceptions. A practical question should be raised at this point: Are many 
directors prepared to try to co-imagine with their exercitants? Most of us are 
more versed in discussing texts, concepts, and, in the context of a retreat, 
feelings, the "various motions that are caused in the soul" (313), than they 
are in examining the images of a contemplation. The retreat journal or "light 
book" routinely provides the basis for these conversations about meanings 

15 De Guibert, Jesuits, 563. 

16 * Richard A. Blake, S J. 

derived from texts. My experience is admittedly limited, but I have never yet 
heard of anyone's using a sketch pad for the same purpose. Given the 
variety of presenting the Exercises today, some probably do; but unless I am 
quite mistaken, they certainly form a small minority. 

Second, Ignatius encourages exercitants to recollect their experiences 
in an atmosphere of tranquillity (333), tracing their origin and aftermath. 
Surely the same method of reflection can be applied to visual images. If, for 
example, in the meditation on sin in the First Week, a retreatant 
endeavoring to see Christ crucified will in all probability reflect on the 
traditional image of a crucifix. If, however, the Christ in the imagination is 
not the familiar icon, but a vivid image of a homeless person stretched out 
on a ventilation grate, then clearly the image itself calls for inquiry. If the 
image is disquieting, it may strike a retreatant with an awareness that his or 
her own sinfulness consists in a lack of compassion for the marginalized. It 
may signify the work of "the good spirit," who "stings their consciences 
with feelings of remorse" (314). Having resolved to become more 
conscientious in the service of the poor, the exercitant may derive great 
consolation from the same image of the downtrodden Christ (as he does in 
the Second Week), interpreting it as an affirmation of the person's intention 
"to grow and rise from what is good to what is better" (331). If the image 
continues to disquiet the exercitant at this point, it may well be a 
temptation to abandon one's resolution as unrealistic or even repulsive. 

Image without Scripture 

Aware of the benefits of contemplative prayer and with these 

safeguards in mind, Ignatius filled the pages of the Spiritual Exercises with all 

sorts of imaginative forms of prayer, and 

in many instances he proposed these forms 

c / r . .; of visualized prayer without any explicit 

Surely, in making the . \ ' . . _ ,. 7 r . . 

^ j . . reference to the Bible. Readme straight 

Contemplatio, re-creating , , , rucv/r- 

i .-11-11 * through the text of the Spiritual Exercises 

the vivid detail based on whh this in mind and wkhout looking at 

personal experience holds the Scripture texts penciled into the 

the key to the result Igna- margins can be a revealing experience. The 

tius intends from the re- po int is obvious after a moment's reflec- 

flection. tion. The composition of place figures 

prominently in all the exercises as the first 
— ^ — ^— ^— prelude, during which the exercitant a see[s] 

in imagination the physical place where 
that which I want to contemplate is taking place" (47). Ignatius insists on 
making this act of visualization at the start of each of the exercises: "All the 

"Listen with Your Eyes" •!• 17 

contemplations or meditations ought to be preceded ... by the two 
preludes, which are sometimes changed in accordance with the subject 
matter* (49). 

Even beyond the prelude common to each reflection, Ignatius 
constructs all the key meditations either explicitly around a visualized 
scenario or proposes a series of reflections that can profitably be made with a 
strong visual component. None of these have a scriptural element as 
presented in the book of the Exercises. Among the key meditations explicitly 
based on non-scriptural imagined scenarios are the Kingdom (92-95), the 
Incarnation (106-8), the Two Standards (140-46), and the Three Classes 
(153-56). Others invite the use of the visual imagination without the use of 
Scripture to augment the proposed reflection. Among these could be listed 
the Principle and Foundation (23), the meditation on the Sin of the Angels 
(50), on the Sin of Those Already Condemned (52) and their associated 
colloquies (54), and on Hell (68-71). By way of exception, the Sin of Adam 
(51) is based on the Genesis narratives, although even in this instance the 
emphasis seems to lie in the aftermath of the sin, which is an extrapolation 
from a scriptural text, "They lived out their whole lives in great hardship 
and penance." This kind of suggestion readily prompts the construction of 
an imaginative, postlapsarian scenario. 

Finally, in the Contemplation to Attain Love (234-37) Ignatius 
encourages a series of reflections on images of concrete, visual realities, but 
in characteristically schematic fashion. As in so many instances, he provides 
stark outlines, like drawings in a coloring book. He expects the exercitants 
to color in the details from their own favorite collection of oils, water 
colors, or Crayolas. Exercitants are instructed to pass from abstraction and 
generality: "the gifts I have received— my creation, redemption, and other 
gifts particular to myself," that is, "all my possessions" (234)— and then 
proceed to more concrete reflections on plants, animals, and human beings 
(235), indeed, to "all creatures on the face of the earth[:] elements, plants, 
fruits, cattle, and all the rest" (236). Finally, Ignatius exhorts the exercitant 
to "consider how all good things and gifts descend from above . . . just as 
rays come down from the sun" (237). Ignatius's failure to supply concrete 
details, once again corresponds to his reluctance to speak in any detail about 
his own visual experiences in prayer and is consonant with his own directive 
in the second Introductory Explanation, which encourages the director to 
provide "only a brief or summary explanation" so that "the person who is 
contemplating, by taking this history as the authentic foundation, and by 
reflecting on it and reasoning about it for oneself, can thus discover 
something that will bring better understanding or a more personalized 
concept of the history" (2). Surely, in making the Contemplatw, re-creating 

18 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

the vivid detail based on personal experience holds the key to the result 
Ignatius intends from the reflection. 

Similarly, the contemplations that Ignatius provides as the core of 
the Second, Third, and Fourth Weeks presuppose a visual reconstruction of 
episodes from either the Gospels or a life of Christ (262-312). The role of 
the written text of the New Testament in the genesis of these exercises is 
somewhat problematic, however. These contemplations are based on 
scriptural material, with a few exceptions, like the first apparition of the 
Risen Christ, to His Mother (299), and the twelfth apparition, to Joseph of 
Aramathea, "as may be piously meditated and as we read in the Lives of the 
Saints" (310). Ganss speculates that the initial form of this supplementary 
material was probably composed in its initial form while Ignatius was still at 
Manresa in 1522, before he learned Latin. Spanish translations of the Gospels 
were rare before 1569. The series of contemplations that Ignatius compiled 
in this early period follow the form and sequence of the Life of Christ by 
Ludolph of Saxony. The references to chapter and verse, common to 
editions of the Spiritual Exercises, were taken from the Latin Vulgate. Ganss 
suggests that these contemplations were refined and the modern chapter-and- 
verse Scripture references were added when Ignatius had access to the Latin 
Bible after his university studies in Paris. 16 We face the startling conclusion, 
then, that Ignatius quite probably collected his fifty-one contemplations on 
the "mysteries" of the life of Jesus with little direct reliance on the words of 
the New Testament. 

The anomaly becomes even more striking when we, who generally 
make the Exercises with a copy of the Bible before us at all times, realize 
that our practice was not always the case when Ignatius and his followers 
began their retreat ministry. As he describes the early Jesuits' gradual 
acceptance of the use of small, portable Bibles in the vernacular, despite their 
Protestant origins, John O'Malley, S.J., suggests that it is "mere surmise" to 
assume that audiences had a text in hand when they attended the popular 
sacred lectures on the Bible. 17 His research on the use of Bibles during 
retreats at this time is also inconclusive. He continues thus: 

16 Ganss, Spiritual Exercises, no. 261, n. 136 (p. 188). A fuller account of the 
composition of the contemplations is provided in Santiago Arzubialde, S.J., Ejercicios 
Espirituales de S. Ignacio: Historia y analysis (Bilbao-Santander: Mensajero, Sal Terrae, 1991), 

17 John W. O'Malley, S.J., The First Jesuits (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard 
University Press, 1993), 258. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" •$• 19 

The Exercises were for the most part based on the Gospels and specifi- 
cally recommended that they be read, which some people surely would 
have to do in vernacular translations. Nonetheless, in keeping with the 
tradition of the Devotio Moderna, the Exercises did not so much confront the 
individual with a text as with an image or scene. Although persons might 
read parts of the Gospels while making the Exercises, they could just as well 
read a "life of Christ." 

The early practice of giving the Exercises, no less than that of delivering 
sacred lectures, utilized an oral medium, with the director "describing" the 
contents of the day's contemplations to persons who may or may not have 
access to a Bible, and if they did, may or may not have read it in conjunc- 
tion with a particular exercise. In any event, the text of the Exercises was 
intended for use by the director only, and not the exercitant. 18 

Printing and Writing 

Technology soon changed the role of the printed page and writing 
in the ministry of the Exercises. The Spiritual Exercises themselves were first 
printed in 1548, while Ignatius was still alive. Around the same time vernac- 
ular Bibles started to appear throughout Europe. By 1593 Nadal's version of 
the Gospels appeared with 153 copperplate illustrations to help a reader 
meditate on the events related in the texts used in the liturgy or during the 
Exercises. 19 

The Directory of 1599, a handbook of suggestions for those leading 
others through the Exercises, provides several recommendations that seem to 
imply an increasingly widespread use of written materials. The Directory 
assumes and even encourages the practice of reading during the time of 
retreat, listing books suitable for use during the Exercises: portions of the 
Gospels, The Imitation of Christ, and the lives of the saints. 20 With regard to 
Scripture, the authors of the Directory prescribe that u [i]n reading the 
Gospels, also, the exercitant should only read the mystery upon which he is 

18 Ibid., 37. 

19 Gauvin Alexander Bailey, "The Jesuits and Painting in Italy, 1550-1690: The 
Art of Catholic Reform," in Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image, ed. 
Franco Mormando, S.J. (Chestnut Hill, Mass.: McMullen Museum of Art at Boston 
College [distributed by University of Chicago Press] 1999), 153. See also, O'Malley, First 
Jesuits, 164. 

"The Official Directory of 1599," in On Giving the Spiritual Exercises: The 
Early Jesuit Manuscript Directories and the Official Directory of 1599, trans, and ed. Martin E 
Palmer, S.J. (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996), no. 29 (p. 296f.). 

20 ■*■ Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

formed about the various agitations and thoughts which the different spirits 
stir up in the retreatant. For then, in accordance with the person's greater or 
lesser progress, the director will be able to communicate spiritual Exercises 
adapted to the needs of the person who is agitated in this way" (17). Accord- 
ing to Ignatius, the director should first listen to the exercitant's account of 
the prayer of the previous day and then propose reflections based on what 
he had heard. In a relatively short period of time, less than half a century 
after the death of Ignatius, the Directory seems to condone the practice of 
handing a retreatant a piece of paper, which could probably be prepared in 
advance of listening to anything the retreatant had to say. If this was indeed 
the case, it would appear that an enormous change had taken place in the 
way Jesuits gave the Exercises. 

Why did this change take place so rapidly? As those of us can 
testify who have at first reacted angrily against the Internet and then strug- 
gled to learn how to use it well, technology can bring about change only if 
people are willing and ready to use it. While Europe was moving from a 
medieval oral culture to a modern print culture, the Jesuits were moving 
into the schools. 21 From the early 1540s, Jesuits had been lecturing in 
theology at the universities. Although some had been teaching reading, 
writing, and catechism in Goa as early as 1543, the opening of the first 
"Jesuit" school in Messina in 1548 is generally considered the beginning of 
the order's commitment to general education, that is, reading and writing, 
grammar, and languages, as well as to the ecclesiastical disciplines. Just as 
professors and teachers today find themselves immersed in a world of 
computers and web sites, the Jesuits in the latter half of the sixteenth 
century, modern men that they were, were inundated with books, all kinds 
of books to use in their teaching. Books and writing quickly became their 
normal and probably preferred media of communication. 

Another practical consideration enters the picture, and another 
comparison is instructive. American Jesuits who entered the novitiate before, 
say, 1970 can surely remember the huge community retreats "preached" in 
the chapels of virtually every house of studies each summer. Within a very 
short period of time, the numbers of scholastics declined rapidly while the 
people entering religious life became a quite diverse population. Because of 
this unrelated combination of trends, the individually directed retreat, a 
practical impossibility in huge houses of studies before the 1970s, quickly 
replaced the older "house retreat." A scholastic today cannot even imagine 
the earlier style. 

21 In "The Schools," chapter 6 of his book, O'Malley documents the Jesuits' 
rapid movement into the ministry of education. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" -b 21 

Conversely, in the latter half of the sixteenth century, as more 
Jesuits began giving the Exercises to greater numbers, the use of print and 
writing became a practical necessity. The use of books and written notes 
frequently replaced the more personalized but time-consuming process of 
interpersonal dialogue. A text of the Spiritual Exercises and a directory could 
provide a one-size-fits-all outline for the director, and a copy of the New 
Testament, with or without illustrations, placed in the hands of a retreatant, 
increased efficiency enormously. It simply takes less time to give a Scripture 
reference than to take the time to describe an incident orally. 

The more extensive use of written materials, however, does not 
altogether explain the relative neglect of visual images. Three additional 
factors might be considered. 

The first is the central role of the Election in the Exercises. Ignatius 
provides for "three times" for making a choice during the time of retreat. 
The first is "an occasion when God our Lord moves and attracts the will in 
such a way that a devout person, without doubting or being able to doubt, 
carries out what has been proposed" (175). This occurs rarely and may be 
compared to St. Paul's experience on the road to Damascus. The second 
involves "sufficient clarity and knowledge" from discerning "consolations and 
desolations" (176). The third demands a decision-making process that is 
essentially a logical, conceptual process of weighing options. The second 
method, based largely on affections, should be tested by the third, which is 
the more rational and thus more open to discussion and testing with the 
help of a spiritual director. Ganss comments that the second and third 
"supplement each other." 22 In the practice of giving or making the Exercises, 
the Election could not be trusted until it was subjected to the test of the 
intellect. Images and affections on their own were scarcely sufficient to 
ground a valid election, which was considered the central point of making 
the Spiritual Exercises. 

But is it really? In the same section of his commentary on the 
Election, Ganss notes, "The main structure of Ignatius' text chiefly concerns 
a person deliberating about election of a state of life." 23 Of course. The 
outline of the Spiritual Exercises grew out of Ignatius's own conversion 
experience at Manresa. As directors became more reliant on the printed text, 
the consideration of the Election remained a core chapter in the book they 
were using, even though most people making the Exercises— priests or 
religious making their annual retreats, for example— no longer entered the 
period of prayer in order to choose a state of life. In these circumstances the 

22 Ganss, Spiritual Exercises, no. 176, n. 96 (p. 177). 

23 No. 170, n. 94 (p. 176), emphasis added. 

22 + Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

Wy>wmmyymm*;:ssmm rswamm 

simple "loving gaze" of contemplation might be a perfectly sufficient, 
rewarding form of prayer. A sensitive director, feeling free to adapt the 
Exercises without excessive dependence on the text, could respond to the 
needs and desires of the individual, experienced exercitant by encouraging 
this form of prayer. Taken in its literary form, however, the book, as it 
came to be used as a substitute for dialogue, continues to propose weighing 
logical conclusions reached from considering texts and concepts that support 
a decision or election. With this as an underlying principle, the workings of 
the imagination can be considered a less desirable and riskier form of prayer 
than clear, analytical reason. In these early years, with the memory of the 
founder still vivid, only with some hesitation would a director take it upon 
himself to omit one of the key chapters in the book of Master Ignatius. 

De Guibert deals extensively with this apparent discrepancy be- 
tween the way Ignatius actually conceived of using the Exercises with people 
who were not making an election on a state of life and the rigidity of the 

text as it was interpreted and used by his 
^ ^—^— mmmmm — followers. 24 He observes that in the very 

, . last month of his life, July 1556, Ignatius 

Being surprised in prayer made ^ poim in reference lo giving lhe 

is a frightening prospect. Exercises to Jesuits, and in the previous 

year he made a similar point about reli- 
gious women. The Election need not mean 
what the text implies. The book, de Gui- 
bert concludes, "is in fact dominated by the thought of a choice of life," but 
this "choice" takes many forms other than those of a fundamental option for 
a state in life. The election can be "an election of service . . . which can bear 
not merely on the choice of a state of life, but also on the reform of that life 
and on many others things." 25 As I understand his teaching, de Guibert 
seems to find fault with directors whose rigid interpretation of the text of 
the Exercises leads them to a limited understanding of its dynamics for 
exercitants not choosing a state of life. 

A second factor arises from a mistrust of imagination that literate 
people, like the early Jesuit schoolmasters, frequently manifest. In discussing 
the active use of the imagination encouraged in Ignatius 's meditation on the 
Incarnation and Nativity, the influential French commentator Alexandre 
Brou, S.J., asks: "How is it, then, that this activity is laid aside almost 
completely in the oft republished collections of the old-time Jesuits? . . . 

24 De Guibert, 125-27. 

25 Ibid., 127. 

'Listen with Your Eyes" 4* 23 

Doubtless it is because the imagination is not under absolute control, that 
each one has his own, and that it is not easy to take over that of others." 26 
Brou's response to his own rhetorical question makes two points. First, a 
free imagination may lead one in unexpected directions beyond the "control" 
of either the director or the exercitant. While some may see this as danger- 
ous, one could just as easily make the case that this is precisely what hap- 
pens in an instance of inspiration when "the Father who is in heaven meets 
his children with great love and speaks to them." Being surprised in prayer is 
a frightening prospect. Second, the images are so personal that they are 
difficult to share. Again, ideas and conclusions based on texts lend them- 
selves much more easily to rational conversation and logical conclusions. On 
the other hand, the difficulty in sharing images may result from a lack of 
technique and vocabulary for speaking about images. Here, the language of 
film criticism can help us construct an elementary dictionary for discussing 
this kind of prayer. 

Pablum for the Soul? 

Finally, while "infused" contemplation is thought to be an extraor- 
dinary gift, the routine kind of contemplation suggested in the Exercises is 
often dismissed as prayer of a lower order. Brou offers two different points 
of view to illustrate the common belief that ordinary contemplation is 
inferior to meditation. In a letter, Nadal admits that he was able to pray by 
reading Scripture and then engaging in "a simple, prolonged gaze on what 
was written." 27 Nadal adds: "This method is very simple. We may use it even 
when the intellect finds it hard to make an effort, even in illness." In the 
next paragraph, however, Brou provides the warning of St. Francis de Sales, 
who argues that contemplation is of little use for those who are well "ad- 
vanced on the mountain of perfection." For those "who are still in the 
valley," St. Francis continues, "I think it would be best to use all our 
tricks." 28 The Directory of 1599 concurs in accepting this hierarchy of modes 
of prayer. In its discussion of the imagination in the section devoted to the 
application of senses, it notes: "Meditation is more a matter of the intellect 
[than the application of senses], involves more reasoning, and is altogether 
higher. . . . The application of the senses, on the other hand, is not discur- 

26 Alexandre Brou, S.J., Ignatian Methods of Prayer, trans., William J. Young, S.J. 
(Milwaukee: Bruce, 1949), 138. 

27 Brou, Ignatian Methods, 140, quoting Nadal. See Epistolrt P. Hieronymi Nadal, 
vol. 4 (Madrid, 1905), 682. This is vol. 47 of the Monumenta historica Societatis Iesu. 

28 Brou, Ignatian Methods, 140, quoting St. Francis de Sales, Oeuvres xni, 162. 

24 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

sive, but merely rests in the sensible qualities of things: sights, sounds, and 
the like." 29 The paragraph concludes, almost grudgingly: "These it enjoys and 
takes delight in, to its spiritual profit.'' In other words, the prayer of the 
imagination is spiritual pablum, fine for children but to be used by adults 
only in time of illness. 

St. Francis de Sales, like the authors of the Directory, offers a limited 
acceptance of the prayer of imaging in some circumstances, but only as long 
as it is kept under strict control. While Ignatius cautions the director about 
going into detail in making a presentation to the exercitant, St. Francis goes 
quite a bit further in addressing his remarks to the exercitant: "If you make 
any considerable use of the imagination, you ought to be reproved. But if 
you do it briefly and simply, merely to bestir your mind to attention and 
recall its powers to the meditation, I do not think that there will be any 
need of giving it up altogether." 30 In the same paragraph he warns of going 
into particulars in using images: "We should not go into too great detail, as 
to think of the color of our Lady's hair, the shape of her countenance, and 
similar things." He, too, concedes that the imagination may be used as a 
springboard to prayer of the higher faculties, but he insists that it is not an 
end in itself. 

Brou effectively challenges the twin notions that contemplation is 
either an "easy" form of prayer to be used only by beginners and the infirm 
or that it is inferior to a more rational form of meditation. 31 

First, although Brou admits that the belief that contemplation is 
easy is "the common opinion," he points out that, contrary to this assump- 
tion, many exercitants have "broken their heads over it." No form of prayer 
is easy or difficult in itself. Some, he believes, are not suited for this kind of 
prayer and expend enormous amounts of energy trying to achieve a goal for 
which they have little talent. Others, blessed with vivid imaginations, lose 
themselves in fruitless fantasy and fail to move beyond their images. These 
points bear particular weight in the present age. Paradoxical as it seems, 
contemporary people, immersed as we are in images in daily life, can find 
the construction of images "head-breaking" because our literary, Bible- 
centered prayer has kept us from developing the necessary skills to construct 
and savor images on our own. We are like would-be athletes who admire the 
skills of long-distance runners on television and realize with some regret, as 

29 Directory, chap. 20, [156] (p. 322). 

30 Brou, Ignatian Methods, 140, quoting St. Francis de Sales, ibid., 183. 

31 Brou, Ignatian Methods, 148-58. 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!♦ 25 

they sit on the sofa watching television and munching potato chips, that 
they have neither the talent nor endurance to run a marathon themselves. 

Second, without challenging the notion of higher and lower faculties 
of the soul, which automatically ranks the prayer of the intellect (the 
superior faculty) above prayer of the imagination (the inferior faculty), Brou 
finds that "imagination leads more quickly and more directly than does the 
intellect to the affections, and 

for all we know, even to the — — ^ ____ 
threshold of contemplative XT r r . T ._~ . 

prayer" (156). He concludes No form oj prayer n easy or difficult 

then: u In so far as it is an ex- tn " se v- 

ercise of the imagination, the -^— ^«»^^^«^^^«^^™«^^^^_— ^_ 
application of the senses is 

inferior to discursive prayer, just as the faculty brought into play is inferior. 
But because it can issue in a real intellectual contemplation, it partakes of 
the superiority of the contemplative act over the reason" (158). It would 
seem, then, that the prayer of the imagination could be understood as 
providing an entrance, not to intellectual considerations— the Election, for 
example— but to a direct, personal relationship with God. 

Distinctions between "higher" and "lower" surely do not preoccupy 
the contemporary mind. 32 The discussion serves a purpose here in providing 
some context for the relative neglect of imaginative, visual prayer in the 
literature of the Exercises and consequently in the common experience of 
retreats in recent years. 

Redeeming Images 

Even the most casual reading of the text of the Exercises leaves little 
reason to doubt that Ignatius structured his handbook in large pan 
around a series of visual experiences for the exercitant. His own 
subtlety in dealing with images can be intuited in his outline for days 
devoted to the contemplations of the Second, Third, and Fourth Weeks. 
According to his instruction, after making two contemplations the exercitant 

32 Barthes points out that the primacy of the spoken word was assumed in 
theological discourse in the medieval period. In the fifteenth century, he maintains, 
Ignatius "attempts to situate the image (or 'interior sight') in orthodoxy as a new unit of 
the language he is constructing" (Sade, 65). To continue Barthes's line of reasoning, as the 
process continued after the death of Ignatius, "sight" of printed words dislocated the role 
of aural discourse. 

26 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

is to repeat both together in two periods of repetition (118-20). A fifth hour 
of prayer is devoted to applying the senses to both exercises, starting with 
the sense of sight (12 If.). After working through the subject matter of each 
contemplation, whether taken from Scripture or from some life of Christ, 
the retreatant revisits it three times in the normal sequence of the day. 

Surely, if Ignatius considered the prayer as repeating precisely the 
experience of the previous hour, his prescription would lead directly and 
inexorably to tedium. On the other hand, he might well have been aware 
that images and a person's reaction to them might change through repeated 
study over a period of time. The changing emphasis of one detail over 
another from one prayer to the next through the day may be as revealing of 
God's "speaking" to the exercitant as one's verbal responses in the colloquy. 
These subtle differences can be all-important, if one develops the skill to 
notice them. 

Literary creatures that we are, we engage in this critical process 
routinely when we deal with the printed word. One does not read "God's 
Grandeur" once and consider its meaning exhausted. We may read it sequen- 
tially several times at one sitting and then go back to savor individual 
phrases and allusions. Reading the poem again and again at different periods 
in our lives, in different circumstances, allows the words of Hopkins to 
speak to us in ever new ways. It opens rich meanings in the poem that we 
did not and could not grasp on previous readings. Surely, such repetition 
reveals as much about the reader as it does about the poet. 

Most of us have had the experience of returning to a milestone 
book or film from our undergraduate days, hoping to relive the initial 
excitement of discovery. We can't. More often than not, such rereading of 
old favorites results in profound disappointment. As a student in the 1960s, I 
thought Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1956) should replace Sophocles' 
Theban Trilogy as the cornerstone of Western civilization. Now it strikes me 
as a work of unrelieved pretension. Like most film students of that era, I 
once despised cowboy movies. Now that I understand the Western film 
genre and American cultural history a little better, if drawn into a best-of-all- 
time selection process, I would put John Ford's The Searchers (1956) as one 
of the finest examples of twentieth-century American art in any medium. 
Yes, I'd put Ford right up there with O'Neill, Fitzgerald, and Frost. The 
works haven't changed, but I have; and once I take the time to think about 
it, my response to the works helps me understand how I have changed as a 
critic through the past several decades. 

'Listen with Your Eyes 


The Point of Repetition 

Sometimes these changes in perception are minute and can occur 
not over years but within a very short period of time. Actors understand 
well how a tiny shift in inflection can change the impact of a line. For 

To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 
To be or not to be; that is the question. 

Each reading of the line renders a different meaning, and in the hands of a 
skilled actor can reveal a different nuance in the state of the character. It is 
the perceptive actor and listener who are sensitive to such changes. 

A very similar process of discovery takes place in prayer. At time of 
retreat especially, different texts emerge as holding rich meaning, and texts 
that at one time in the past provided moments of intense consolation now 
offer little inspiration. Within a familiar scriptural phrase, even minute 
variations of emphasis can provide a series of alternative meanings. Some 
provide little attraction; others can be deeply moving. In what might 
possibly be considered a variation of the Second Method of Prayer of St. 
Ignatius (252), one need only switch emphasis from one word to the next to 
uncover an entirely different message within the same line. For example, 

The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 
The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 
The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 
The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 

The Lord is my Shepherd; 
The Lord is my Shepherd; 
The Lord is my Shepherd; 
The Lord is my Shepherd; 

I; there is nothing I shall want. 

I; there is nothing I shall want. 

I; there is nothing I shall want. 

I; there is nothing I shall want. 

The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 

Each change of emphasis in the line offers a somewhat different meaning Jind 
thus a somewhat different invitation to prayer. In the period of reflection 
and in discussion with a director, evaluating the meaning of the text and any 
perceived variations in emphasis may be helpful in understanding God's call 
at the moment. 

28 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

If the meaning shifts within a series of repetitions during the day, 
the change might indicate a significant movement of grace. So, for example, 
if the retreatant stresses "Lord" in the first meditation, and gradually adopts 
"Shepherd" as the key to the psalm, then he or she may be experiencing an 
alteration in the relationship with God from one of power to one of nur- 
ture. Or if the sense of time shifts from the present "is" to the future "shall," 
then one is moving from a sense of God rooted in personal history, what 
has brought one to a current state, to one based in hope for the future; from 
experience of God's fidelity up to this point to the courage to undertake a 
daunting challenge in the future, confident that the Lord will guide the 
project as a shepherding presence. 

Surely, very little of this comes as a surprise to experienced direc- 
tors. The point of repeating these familiar points of reflection in some detail 
is merely to provide background for a suggestion that one can address the 
same level of minute observation and careful analysis to the images that 
Ignatius provides. And it is worthy of repetition in this context that he 
often suggests images and visual dramatic scenarios without reference to 
words, scriptural or otherwise. As a result, retreatants can use the analysis of 
images as they do the analysis of words, to gain insight and understanding of 
God's efforts to communicate with them during times of prayer. The 
reflections that follow are intended to help the reader develop creative tools 
and critical vocabulary to became as comfortable in dealing with the pictures 
in the imagination as with the words in the intellect. 

The Elements of Cinema 

More than "pictures" are involved with the contemplations of the 
Exercises. With his continual insistence on considering "persons, words, and 
actions" (106-8, for example), Ignatius in fact frequently provides the 
equivalent of a treatment for a screenplay. Although he was certainly 
familiar with devotional paintings and sculptures in churches and engravings 
in books, his presentation to the exercitant is remarkably cinematic. It is 
almost eerie how Ignatius's insistence on the numerous repetitions looks 
forward to a day in which a director may do several "takes" of a scene, 
weigh the subtle shadings in each one, and finally, with the assistance of an 
editor (who may be something like a retreat director, depending on the 
relationship between the two artists), selects the scenes that most effectively 
embody the meaning of the story. It is conceivable that as they look at the 
dailies and catch a spontaneous moment on the screen, their conception of a 
character or relationship may change significantly. Together they reflect on 
what they and the actors have done in moments of unpremeditated inspira- 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!♦ 29 

■• '■-: ■■■:■■■ 

tion. Through a process of repetition and discernment they let the meaning 
of their work evolve. 

Dealing with cinematic images is an extraordinarily complex busi- 
ness, and it is no less complex in the context of imaginative prayer. The 
French semiologist Christian Metz (b. 1931) conceived of film as a series of 
signs through which meaning is communicated over five different channels. 
Unlike many of the earlier film theorists who find that film is a moving 
photographic image to which other effects were added, Metz insisted on 
considering the five channels as parts of one unified experience. 33 His 
position is understandable, since he was born four years after the populariza- 
tion of the sound film and never lived through the silent era and the "advent 
of sound" that dislocated prior forms of film aesthetics in 1927. His five 
channels are: 

1. The photographic image, which is multiple and moving. 

2. Graphic traces, like written text appearing on the screen. Intertitles 
provided a great deal of information during the silent period. Today, films 
still occasionally use text to supply transitions, like "Ten years later." While 
today's films rarely employ devices like spinning newspaper headlines to 
provide information, the use of text on computer screens remains a common 
device, as, for example, when the hero is trying to trace the identity of a 
suspected terrorist. 

3. Recorded speech, including that of both the synchronized speech of 
actors on screen or various voice-over sources, like narrators, commentators, 
and reactors. 

4. Recorded music. (The modifier "recorded" is significant in this 
context. Movies were never truly "silent." The musical accompaniment in 
the silent era included everything from a single upright piano to symphony 
orchestras, and the scores could be anything from a series of set pieces, like 
"chase" or "romance" to elaborate orchestral settings like the compositions 
Arthur Honegger did explicitly for Abel Gance's Napoleon [1927]. For Metz, 
music must be pre-recorded on film— rather than stand as an independent 
performance— to be considered part of the film experience.) 

5. Finally, recorded noise or sound effects, which can be either syn- 
chronized with the action on the screen or at times can be used to comment 
on an action, usually for comic effect, like cheering crowds during an actor's 
heroic daydream or a siren when he finally gets up the courage to kiss the 

33 J. Dudley Nichols, The Major Film Theories: An Introduction (London: Oxford 
University Press, 1976), 218. 

30 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

In the construction of an "image" for contemplation, the retreatant 
might deliberately and self-consciously utilize each of these channels in turn. 
Similarly, in periods of reflection, the exercitant might find this scheme a 
useful tool for uncovering the meaning of the prayer experience. Briefly and 
in order of their enumeration above, these categories for film criticism 
evolved by Christian Metz show a remarkable suitability to the contempla- 
tions provided in the text of the Exercises. 

1. Photographic images form the core of a visual contemplation, 
naturally, but these are necessarily multiple and moving. Ignatius leaves no 
doubt about this. The effort to gaze upon a still image, as though the 
imagination were engaged in creating a still photograph or painting, can be a 
highly effective form of contemplation. Ignatius, however, includes "actions" 

as part of the exercise (108), thus seeming 
to indicate that the persons pictured are in 

In the silence of the imag- moti ° n lh / ms i elves . a " m °™S from place 

^ j 7 to place within the frame. In addition, 

ination, God may also , . , ., , 

, , , ' . r the imagination can also shirt from one 

speak through strains of j * -i * »l c a- a 

r t» r • r i detail to another in a series or different 

music recalled imperfectly individual but related pictures of tlie same 
in fragments. scene. The text of the Exercises does not 

include this explicitly, but it seems a neces- 
sary correlate to contemplating the "ac- 
tions." For example, in a process similar to 
editing, one can try to picture a miracle story by shifting from Jesus to the 
healed person, to the disciples, to those who stand in amazement, to hostile 
Pharisees. The attraction of one image over another should provide entry 
into an analysis of the prayer. Later in this essay, we will discuss the use of a 
shifting point of view in greater detail in the context of the Contemplation 
on the Incarnation. 

2. Graphic traces need not be limited to imaging words on a printed 
page, although some people may find this useful. Frequently enough in these 
days when most exercitants closely associate the Bible and the Spiritual 
Exercises, a text of Scripture seems almost integral to the contemplation. 
Words, perhaps repeated vocally in the imagination, can include more than 
those given in the pericope from the New Testament that provides the 
current subject for the contemplation. Other readings— psalms, prophets, 
ascetical works, fiction, the words of the Exercises, or even fragments from 
conversations recalled or imagined — may provide perfectly appropriate 
commentaries for the scene. 

3. Recorded speech would include the words articulated by persons 
imagined in the contemplation, as opposed to texts and commentaries 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!♦ 31 

included in "graphic traces." Ignatius explicitly includes dialogue in his 
contemplation by instructing the exercitant to "listen to what the persons on 
the face of the earth are saying" (107). The words of these anonymous 
persons do not exist in Scripture. By offering this directive, Ignatius invites 
the exercitant to become a scriptwriter, imagining dialogue from scratch. 
The persons pictured within the contemplation, whether it is based on 
Scripture or on one of Ignatius's own imaginary scenarios, may address the 
exercitant directly, or discuss among themselves the meaning of the incident 
they have participated in. Their expressions are not limited to the text of the 
Scripture, any more than is the exercitant's response in the colloquy (109). 

4. Recorded music appreciably heightens the emotional intensity of 
any scene in the movies, as we can all attest. Some spiritual directors would 
probably object to the use of recorded music to set the mood for a contem- 
plation, as might Ignatius himself had the technology existed in his day. The 
sensory deprivation of a retreat, especially silence, is intended to allow the 
exercitant to listen to God's communication without "noise" or "static" from 
other sources. However, in the silence of the imagination, God may also 
speak through strains of music recalled imperfectly in fragments. To cite an 
obvious example, a few bars of the Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" could 
provide a helpful background for a contemplation of the Resurrection. 

5. Recorded noise or sound effects in film is integral to a sense of 
realism. In a literal reading of the text, Ignatius seems at first to neglect the 
power of sound, since in the preludes and points of each of his contempla- 
tions, he instructs the exercitant to listen to the words the people speak to 
each other (107 or, for the Third Week, 194). Limiting the listening to 
"words" only, may be deliberate, but it is probably merely an oversight. In 
the context of other exercises, like the Application of Senses, where Ignatius 
tries to involve all the senses in recreating the scene, it seems strange that he 
would not want an exercitant to listen, for example, to the sound of lash 
and hammer during a contemplation of the Passion. 

Techniques of Film Making 

Utilizing the elements of cinema to best effect is the role of the 
director. A major part of the creative process during the production phase 
involves a judicious placement of the camera, since what it sees is precisely 
what the audience will see. When the work is done well, most people in the 
audience scarcely realize that the lens has shifted position and is telling a 
story from a particular point of view. In most films, the narration unfolds in 
a simple, objective sequence of events related by the all-seeing, third-person 

32 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

camera. This fact should not lead to a hasty conclusion that the events on 
the screen are a matter of objective "truth," and that the director merely 
positions the camera in a convenient location to provide an unencumbered 
view of the action. 

In filming a simple conversation between a man and a woman, for 
example, the director uses the tools of his art form not only to record the 
words and gestures of the event but also to give it significance in the context 
of the film as a whole. Here are only a few of the many options for a 
camera setup, the first three of which are ostensibly "objective, " the last two 
decidedly "subjective": 

1. A long-distance shot, placing both actors full figure in frame at 
enough distance to show the setting as well. If they speak in the visiting 
room of a jail with heavy iron bars in the background and on the right and 
left margins of the screen, the dialogue is quite different from an exchange of 
similar words in a florist's shop or a sunny suburban garden. The setting 
becomes the silent actor on the screen. 

2. A medium shot (from knees or waist up) of both actors together, 
where the mass of their image fills the screen and forces attention on them 
alone. If it is a friendly exchange, such crowding of the frame might suggest 
the intimacy of the couple. If they are arguing, the tight screen can provide 
an uncomfortable, claustrophobic effect, as though they sense unbearable 
tension in each other's company. They want desperately to put some 
distance between each other, but the frame holds them in. 

3. A close-up, over-the-shoulder shot includes a portion of the back of 
the head and shoulder of the person speaking at the side of the screen, while 
the bulk of the frame is filled with the face of the person who is listening to 
the words of the speaker. In this shot, either one may be speaking, and the 
camera frequently switches position to focus on one and then the other. It 
creates the illusion of objectivity, however, by making the audience a 
nonparticipating but close observer of what is perhaps an intimate exchange. 

4. A close-up of the speaker's face casts the audience in the role of the 
listener as though the words are being addressed, not to an off-camera 
partner in the dialogue, but to each person in the theater audience watching 
the screen. These observers then enter the action as listeners, taking the 
place of the listening actor who is no longer pictured on screen. 

5. A close-up of the listener (a reaction shot) in which the actor on 
screen is silent but shows by facial expression some emotional response to 
the speaker, who is delivering the lines off-camera. In this shot, the audience 
identifies with the speaker and weighs the effect of the speech on the 
listener. It savors the pain the speaker intended to inflict when it sees the 

"Listen with Your Eyes'' •!• 33 

listener wince at the words "And I never did love you." Conversely, its 
highly emotional involvement allows the audience to experience relief and 
delight when the words "I've always loved only you" bring a smile to the 
lips of the listener. 

Routinely skillful film directors will change the point of view 
several times during such a conversation. By reviewing the series of retakes 
they will select the perfect sequence from among the five (or more) possibili- 
ties in order to create the most effective scene. On occasion, the concept of 
the scene will shift during this process. For example, the director might have 
intended to show the woman in the most sympathetic light, but discovers 
during the editing process that the scene becomes more powerful if the 
fragility of the man and the coldness of the woman become clear to the 

Careful observation of details during the many repetitions of an 
Ignatian contemplation similarly challenges one's initial assumptions about 
the mystery. Like a film director, the retreatant at prayer searches through 
different possibilities until one "feels" right. One searches for "inspiration" 
from God in the same way that a film maker searches for artistic inspiration. 
At the end of the day, the exercitant, like a film maker, reviews the rushes 
with a perceptive critical eye. In private reflection and in conversation with 
a retreat director, the retreatant tries to grasp the meaning of the scene in its 
varied forms, choosing the variations that seem to express most poignantly 
the "meaning" of the scene and its place within the context of the Exercises. 

Scripting the Incarnation 

The complexity of determining "camera" placement and point of 
view becomes apparent in a "visual" reading of Ignatius's most detailed set of 
instructions for contemplating the Incarnation (101-9). This is the most 
"cinematic" of the exercises, and yet one of the most difficult to imagine 
because the author mingles without distinction two quite different scenes: 
first, the cosmic vision of the Trinity surveying all humankind and then the 
simple setting of the Annunciation narrative from Luke's Gospel. 

By stuffing the scene in this way, Ignatius makes coherence and 
continuity a nightmare. In the prelude, he describes a panoramic view of the 
"Three Divine Persons" as they "gaze upon the whole surface or circuit of 
the world" (102), a notion he repeats in the first point (106:3). In the pre- 
ludes, he wants to narrow our focus to "the house and rooms of Our Lady, 
in the city of Nazareth" (103), a scene that he similarly recalls in the first 
point (106:4). Clearly, the exercitant, like the film maker, will have to take 

34 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

one element of this contemplation at a time, and see if they eventually come 
together in the interlocking sequence Ignatius seems to prescribe. Before one 
can even begin envisioning points of view, the scenario as a whole must be 

Ignatius seems to want to provide a macrocosmic and microcosmic 
consideration of the mystery at the same time. The two parts can either be 
treated sequentially or can be intercut through a process called parallel 
editing. In practice, taking the parts individually first and then together 
becomes the most practical option. The technique of parallel editing, em- 
ployed in fusing the two parts of this contemplation, involves envisioning 
two (or more) distinct scenes taking place at the same time in different 
locations. The scenes appear alternately to show that they are occurring 
contemporaneously. A most common example of parallel editing is the ever 
popular chase scene used in silent-movie melodramas: Shots of the hero's 
riding to the rescue are intercut with the heroine's rising panic as the racing 
train approaches the spot where she has been tied to the tracks. Three 
shots— the hero, the train, and the heroine— appear repeatedly on the screen, 
and generally in increasingly rapid succession to heighten the excitement. A 
really hammy fourth shot would include a reaction shot of the villain 
twirling his mustache in glee as he anticipates the results of his knavery. 

In what appears to be the major focus of the exercise on the Incar- 
nation, Ignatius invites the exercitant to construct an imaginative, non- 
Scriptural scenario of the Three Persons as they gaze upon the "circuit of the 
world." He insists on particularity, but characteristically he provides little by 
way of concrete suggestion on how this is to be accomplished. He instructs 
the one making the exercise to see particular objects and persons, but he 
gives only the most general indication of what they are. As usual, retreatants 
are forced to rely on their own resources as animated by God. Even the 
selection of a point of view is left vague, so that as a result the exercitant is 
free to determine both the observer who will constitute the core of the 
contemplation and the scene this observer beholds. 

A visually sensitive retreatant can adapt one of four distinct points 
of view, with each observer able to direct attention to any one of the other 
three. Thus in constructing the contemplation, one begins with these 

The Creator gazes upon The Son, the World, or the exercitant. 

The Son gazes upon The Creator, the World, or the exercitant. 

The World gazes upon The Creator, the Son, or the exercitant. 

The exercitant gazes upon The Creator, the Son, or the World. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" ♦!♦ 35 

Even in creating this scheme from the text of Ignatius, the imagina- 
tion faces several problems and enjoys several possibilities. The exercise calls 
for taking some liberties with the text and engaging in creative improvisa- 
tion. Ignatius does not mention "Creator" or "Son." He uses the abstract 
terms "Three Divine Persons" and the "Second Person," and later the 
"Eternal Word made flesh" (109). He refers to "our Lord" only in the third 
prelude in conjunction with the Nazareth scene. Yet, given his insistence on 
a concrete, visual reconstruction of an imaginary scene, it seems not only 
expedient but necessary in the spirit of this type of prayer to forgo striving 
for theological accuracy in Trinitarian formulations and turn the attention 
directly to a visualization. Simply, one cannot visualize "Three Divine 
Persons." One can, however, put form, tint, and texture to a Father/Mother 
image as "Creator" or to a human form of "the Son." Christian iconogra- 
phers have traditionally pictured the Holy Spirit as a dove or "tongue of 
fire," but such a visualization poses difficulties to the proposed dialogue the 
Persons engage in. 

The last two possible elements listed above, the world and the 
exercitant, offer possibilities for extraordinary variation in the contemplation 
when considered either as observing subject or observed object. Ignatius 
recommends seeing "the 

world" in terms of its diverse ^ ___^^^^^^^^_ 
peoples (106). A visualizing 

imagination must render this Ignatius seems to want to provide a 

abstract notion, "diverse peo- macrocosmic and microcosmic consid- 
ples," in concrete terms based eration of the mystery at the same 

on individual experience, per- time. 

haps in the ministry. Thus the 

"sick" or the "dying" (106) 

must be seen and heard in terms of an institutionalized parent suffering from 
Alzheimer's disease or an AIDS patient whose deathbed one frequently 
attended. Photographic realism demands the concrete, the actual, the particu- 
lar. In turn, each of these specific persons, imagined or recalled to memory, 
can look back at the Creator, the Son, or the one making the contempla- 
tion. Their gaze emanating from individual persons, real or imagined, with 
or without the accompaniment of words, can speak surely and poignantly. 

Finally, the exercitant can enter the scene quite easily at any point 
as a participant observer. Despite the structure of the text, which seems to 
suggest that one become involved only in the colloquy at the end of the 
contemplation (109), one need not sit passively on the fringes of the action 
until the visual prayer turns to verbal prayer in the final movement of the 
exercise. One can, for example, employ the analogical equivalent of an over- 

36 4- Richard A. Blake, S J. 

the-shoulder shot to see through the eyes of the Creator a world ruined by 
sin, or through the eyes of the Son a world in need of redemption. And 
indeed, exercitants could reasonably interject themselves into the action. For 
example, one could see oneself in a reaction shot, searching for the appropri- 
ate response to the gaze of those varied people in "the circuit of the world" 
who gaze out from the midst of their need. And so on. 

The second section of the exercise offers similar possibilities. Mary 
and the Angel Gabriel gaze upon each other and exchange words. The scene 
is certainly familiar through art, but these familiar images of gauzy robes and 
feathery wings may pose an obstacle for people trying to reach the heart of 
this very "tough" contemplation. Recall Barthes's suspicion of the "reservoir 
of images." This contemplation challenges the creative imagination to invent 
its own images. For example, in Hail Mary (]e vous salue, Marie) (1985), the 
great French director Jean-Luc Godard portrayed Mary as an ordinary 
French teenager who plays on a girls' basketball team (she has a deadly jump 
shot from the line) and pouts about having to help out by pumping gas in 
her family's filling station. Gabriel appears as a cab driver with heavy, dark- 
rimmed glasses, a long shabby overcoat, and a sinister three-day growth of 
beard. Evangelicals and conservative Catholics boycotted the film (unfairly, I 
thought), but even Godard's most severe critics would have to concede that 
he did provide a refreshingly different take on this most familiar mystery. 

Regardless of the imagery used, this scene stands on its own as a 
subject for contemplation. But since Ignatius mentions the Annunciation in 
connection with the "cosmic" scenario in each of the three points as well as 
in the first two preludes, he seems to suggest intercutting the two scenes in 
the contemplation and its repetitions. Alternating between the big picture of 

the entire world in all its complexity and 
~™^ ^^^^~ "the house and rooms of Our Lady, in the 

At the end of the Contem- dt ? of Naza "-« h " ( 103 ). " n challenge the 

T . , T most intrepid imagination, lhe task be- 

plation on the Incarna- r , , 1 , , 

r . , comes somewhat more tractable by keep- 

tion* however, one ex- • j u • r l 

nut*, wu/^u, <//«.«, «,.*, m g m mmc j t j ie im portance of the person- 

presses a desire to serve dized point of view The exercise ^ a 

Christ precisely in serving wno i C) tneil) gains in co hesion if any one 
the needs of the world. G r all of the previous four points of view 

are incorporated into the Annunciation 
^^^^^^^^— -^— ^^— ^ scene. The two discrete parts of the exer- 
cise gain a thematic unity if, for example, 
one first moves from "the big picture" of the Creator's gazing upon a sin- 
filled world and engaging in an imagined Trinitarian dialogue with the Son, 
who assents to become the Redeemer, then moves on to "the small picture" 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!• 37 

■' '•; '•: ;•: ;■:■:•: : 

of the Creator's gazing upon one apparently insignificant human being, an 
unknown girl in a small village, accepting a similar invitation to serve the 
world in whatever way she can. Again, those individuals suffering "in the 
circuit of the world" can look alternately from the Creator as they pray for 
relief from their pain, to the sign of hope they see in the Nazareth scene. 

The colloquy that Ignatius suggests as a conclusion to the contem- 
plation (109) mentions both scenes together, as though the exercitant had 
conflated both and were expected to respond to both as he would if they 
were parts of the same exercise. The challenge becomes less daunting, 
however, if in the course of the day the exercitant has not only endeavored 
to mingle "points of view" from both sections but also to enter personally 
both scenes repeatedly, as participant observer and actor. The Colloquy 
including a response to both the macrocosm and the microcosm then 
develops naturally from contemplating both scenes together. 

The possibilities for arranging and rearranging these basic elements 
in the contemplation are mathematically staggering. Through the repetitions 
several combinations can be tried and several different meanings may emerge 
and lead the exercitant to an intensely personalized colloquy. 

In the movement of the Exercises as a whole, this colloquy in 
response to the Contemplation on the Incarnation provides a striking 
advance over the colloquy suggested at the end of the previous exercise, the 
Kingdom. At the end of the earlier exercise, one responds by expressing a 
desire to serve Christ simply because he is the Christ, the ideal king. In the 
Kingdom, Ignatius invites the exercitant to interiorize the prayer that he 
provides to enable the exercitant to express a "desire to imitate [Christ] in 
bearing all injuries and affronts, and any poverty actual as well as spiritual" 
(98). Although one responds generously to the call of the King simply 
because of who he is, the objective of the call is left deliberately vague. The 
eternal King says, "My will is to conquer the world and all my enemies, and 
thus to enter into the glory of my Father" (95). 

At the end of the Contemplation on the Incarnation, however, one 
expresses a desire to serve Christ precisely in serving the needs of the world. 
Rather than providing a prayer that any Christian could recite— a desire to 
know, love, and serve God by imitating Christ— as in the Kingdom, at the 
end of exercises on the Incarnation, he merely instructs the exercitant "to 
think over what I ought to say to the Three Divine Persons, or to the 
World made flesh or to Our Lady" (109). The prayer then becomes extraor- 
dinarily personalized as one has contemplated particular needs to bring 
God's saving grace to the world of one's own particular experience. 

38 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

More Than Reportorial Accuracy 

Many factors in addition to the selection of persons, words, and 
actions with a determined point of view shape the full meaning of an image. 
Film makers and critics alike understand that the creative process does not 
merely reproduce the outline of a picture, but shades and colors it for 
maximum impact. More important, the success of the process calls for 
injecting an artistic vision into the work through careful attention to details. 
In prayer, as in film making, this shading can be called inspired, and it is 
rarely consistent. Occasionally a film artist will hit upon the "inspired" detail 
that makes a scene truly memorable. More often than not, a harried director 
will be satisfied to move the story along without losing the plot line. 
Likewise, at times an "inspired" detail may make a contemplation exception- 
ally powerful, but by its very nature such inspiration is not routine. 

The position of a spotlight, for example, can transform a subject on 
the screen from an accurate representation of a "reality" to an interpretation. 
Light from above often suggests inspiration or moral strength, while light 
from below casts ominous shadows on the face, as it does, for example, 
when children hold flashlights under their chins to frighten the neighbors on 
Halloween. A beam of light directed to the hair of an actress frames the face 
in a shimmering halo, and for that reason it is called "Hollywood" or 
"glamour" lighting. 

Very few people can expect to recognize that level of detail in the 
imagination, but the principle remains valid. Does the scene unfold in 
darkness and shadow, or in bright light? Is one imagined subject in shadow, 
while the other appears in sunlight? Does the contrast between light and 
shadow change during the repetitions of the day? Does the scene as a whole 
become lighter or darker, or does one character emerge from the shadows 
while another slips into the background? 

Another set of observations about the scene emerges from attention 
to the viewing angle. A high-angle shot, in which the camera is placed above 
the object and seems to push it into the floor, generally diminishes a human 
character. A low-angle shot with the camera looking up at the subject, 
generally increases stature. If a low-angle shot places the subject against the 
open sky, it may even introduce the quality of the mythic or supernatural 
into a character. If, however, a low-angle shot is coupled with both a lens of 
long focal length (which diminishes distance in perspective) and a ceiling, the 
character will appear to be crushed by the weight of the interior. This shot 
is routinely used in Westerns, when a cowboy comes from the great out- 
doors and enters the cramped cabin of a settler's family. He appears courte- 
ous and even delighted to accept the social conventions imposed by "women- 

'Listen with Your Eyes" •!• 39 


folk," but the camera angle and lens— not words and not special images- 
reveal his sense of claustrophobia. He seems to like having cofTee and fresh- 
baked biscuits while he sits hatless at a table covered with a tablecloth, but 
the ceiling presses down on him. He can't wait to get back to his horse. 

Again, one would scarcely be expected to identify the focal length 
of the imaginary lens used in a contemplation, but the principle holds some 
relevance as one reflects upon the visual patterns of prayer. The beautiful 
incident of the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:7-42) provides an 
excellent narrative to illustrate this cinematic commonplace. After picturing 
an "establishing shot" to set the scene and provide some visual context for 
the exchange, most people would want to move in more closely for a series 
of closer images of the dialogue. Who (the woman, Jesus, or the observing 
exercitant) looks up or down on whom? From what distance? If the angles 
change, how and when? Does the woman first appear in low angle against 
the sky, to suggest her sense of arrogance? Does the eye of imagination 
gradually move upward to a high-angle position that crushes her into the 
ground as her sinfulness becomes known? Is there a time when she and Jesus 
appear eye to eye as equal partners in the exchange? As the conversation 
continues, does the lens increase or diminish the distance between them? Are 
they pictured together or separately in the frame of the imagination? Have 
they become more intimate through their honesty with each other, or does 
her realization that she is a sinner and he a prophet open a gulf between 
them? When? Why? And again, the key question in the context of the 
Exercises is whether these images change through the series of repetitions. 

Images in cinema comment on one another by their deliberate 
juxtapositioning. In the famous experiments of Lev Kuleshov at the State 
Film School in Moscow in the 1920s, the face of an actor, repeated in 
identical strips of film, takes on different meanings when placed in sequence 
with a little girl playing with a doll, a dead woman in a casket, or a bowl of 
soup. 34 Variously called editing, montage, juxtaposition, or (more recently 
through the influence of semiology) syntagmatics, this linking of images is 
considered by most theoreticians to be the essential element of film art. 
Again, most people making a contemplation would rarely plan a "shooting 
script" for prayer with such details in mind, but if they do occur, they 
certainly add nuance to the scene. To return to the previous example, the 
author of the Gospel implies clearly that the Samaritan woman carried some 
kind of vessel to draw water from the well (4:7). Placed next to her, the 
object increases her power; next to Jesus, his need. Is she wearing jewelry? 

34 David A. Cook describes these and other experiments that led to the pnnciples 
of film editing in A History of Narrative Film (New York: Norton, 1995), 137-39. 

40 * Richard A. Blake, S.J. 

That fact would add some notion of vanity to her character, but if seen in 
conjunction with the eyes of Jesus, the ornaments would reveal something of 
his assessment of the woman. As one passes through the repetitions, perhaps 
the jewelry will disappear altogether and the two, and the exercitant with 
them, will move beyond the need for external, superficial cues about each 
other's personality. 

Finally, "mise-en-scene," the placement of images within the frame, 
provides the basic building blocks of film making. Each individual frame can 
be isolated and its contents observed, much as one would study a painting or 
still photograph. A critic must ask what is in foreground and what in 
background, and what "mass" dominates the frame. Generally, the object's 
significance is proportionate to its mass or size on the screen. As a shot 
continues, the mise-en-scene often shifts. As one at prayer gazes at the 
episode from John's Gospel, the attention may switch from the Samaritan 
woman to Jesus. At the outset, she may dominate the scene, a huge presence 
in the foreground, but may gradually recede into a tiny, insignificant player 
in the background as the personality of Jesus begins to assert its moral 
strength. At this point, the exercitant may enter the picture, replacing the 
woman altogether as a partner in dialogue. 

Beyond Serendipity 

Most of this cinematic analysis would make as little sense to Char- 
lie Chaplin, Marie Dressier, and Mack Sennett in 1914, when 
Tillie's Punctured Romance was released, as it would to St. Ignatius 
of Loyola in 1548, when the Spiritual Exercises were first printed. All four of 
them were gifted with extraordinary imaginations and developed their visual 
images with uncanny and unfailing brilliance. They took a great deal for 
granted in the rest of us. Most of us find our talents somewhat more limited 
than theirs. We're like Salieri in the movie Amadeus, looking in wonder at 
the prodigy Mozart and realizing that he can never duplicate his successes. 

Sennett was deliberately playful in this regard. Years after he left the 
motion picture industry, when asked to explain his comic genius, he wrote, 
tongue-in-cheek perhaps, "We made funny pictures as fast as we could for 
money." 35 He tries to establish his case by offering the example of a one-reel 

35 Mack Sennett, "Cloud-Cuckoo Country," excerpted from his King of Comedy, 
as told to Cameron Shipp (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1954), 86-90. This was 
reprinted in Richard Dyer MacCann, Film: A Montage of Theories (New York: Dutton, 
1966), 160-164. 

"Listen with Your Eyes" *!• 41 

comedy he improvised with his brilliant comic actress, Mabel Normand. 
Scouting out locations with his film crew from Keystone, he ran into a 
Shriners' parade coming down Main Street. He set up his only camera on 
the corner. Without any script or concept, he handed Normand a baby doll 
and a shawl, and told her to run into the parade, screaming that she was 
searching for the father of her "baybee." The distinguished and highly 
disconcerted community leaders fell over each other in their attempt to get 
away from the hysterical woman — and the dangerous misunderstandings that 
could arise from her antics. Chaos ensued. The Los Angeles police wade into 
the melee to restore order and, true to their tradition of professionalism that 
persists to this day, they only add to the confusion. In the twinkling of a 
shutter, the Keystone Kops are born. A great comic scene is put on film, and 
not one of the film makers had any idea of what would happen when they 
started. It was all done on instinct. 

Instinct served quite well for these extraordinarily talented artists 
working with a brand-new medium. Instinct has its limits, however. Sennett 
had the greatest eye for spotting talent in the history of the medium. He 
started virtually all the giants of silent comedy on their way to stardom: 
Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Harry Langdon, and Harold Lloyd, as well 
as Chaplin, Normand, and Dressier. Add to the list the director Frank 
Capra. Sadly, as their talents developed, they all left him, every one, and by 
the mid 1920s Sennett's reputation as the "King of Comedy" was in unmis- 
takable decline. Serendipity could not carry him into the next generation of 
film making. 

As the years passed, the others honed their professional skills and 
developed new facets of their talent. Dressier made the transition to sound 
and won an Academy Award for Min and Bill (1930); she achieved lasting 
fame as the eponymous heroine of Tugboat Annie (1934). Chaplin, of course, 
became Chaplin. Gradually outgrowing the beloved tramp figure and 
exploiting his talents as writer, director, music composer, and conductor, 
Chaplin mastered every detail of the production process and continued to 
make memorable films into the 1950s, even though his politics brought a 
decline in his mass-market appeal. 

The lives of these early film artists can be instructive for the prac- 
tice of Ignatian prayer. Sennett relied on good luck, and his comic talent 
soon withered. The others, however, were not afraid to learn the techniques 
of the new and rapidly developing medium, and their comic gifts became 
constantly enriched. The point of these pages has been to suggest that 
contemplation, a form of prayer that many of us may have come to reg 
as possible only through an extraordinary gift from above, can become more 
accessible through an awareness of some of the basic techniques commonly 

42 * Richard A. Blake, SJ. 

8H888888B8^^ y:w//////////A 

used by film makers and critics. Passively waiting for extraordinary, gifted 
moments in prayer does not seem to be what Ignatius had in mind when he 
proposed this form of prayer for one who is actively engaged in making 
"exercises." The relatively young art form of the motion picture offers a set 
of concepts to enable the imagination to engage in a meaningful form of 
visual prayer, whether or not the extraordinary gifts are present. 

To attempt contemplation without a sense of how images work is 
like sending Chaplin and Dressier onto a soapy floor or Normand into a 
SPinners' parade just to see what happens. Sometimes the results are brilliant, 
but Sennett made a mistake by betting that he could keep finding gems in 
the chaos of his own untutored imagination. He thought he did not have to 
bother with planning or technique. The lesson is universal: In both the 
movies and in prayer, the Spirit blows where he listeth, but sometimes he 
could use a little help. 


In the September 1999 issue of STUDIES I took a leaf from Jivan, a publication of the 
Jesuits of South Asia, and asked what challenges you as a Jesuit at the end of this millen- 
nium and the beginning of the next. "Give us a personal reply, . . . not a bookish answer, 
but please be brief" By the November issue we had received no replies. In January 2000 
we published four thoughtful letters on the subject. Here, in this issue, are another five such 

JWP, S.J. 


I am a Jesuit in a diocesan parish 
and have been here in this work for 
about fourteen years. I preach almost 
daily at parish Masses. The fast pace of 
change in technology doesn't challenge 
me as much as the fast rate of change in 

The parishioners and I are on differ- 
ent pages! I cannot preach to them the 
things I believe. I read theology, they do 
not. They do not even want to hear 
such things. "It just confuses us," they 
say. One priest said to me recently, "It's 
too bad we and our audiences are not in 
the same church!" 

My challenge is not so much to 
absorb the changes myself, but rather 
to stand in the pulpit between two 
groups— the Church of the year 2000 
and the Church of the 1940s and try to 
do their souls some good! 

John Bernbrock, S.J. 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish 
7655 E. Main St. 
Scottsdale, AZ 85251 


In response to your request for 
comments on the challenge of 2000 for 
Jesuits, I would like to submit the fol- 

lowing: God as Love and Justice empow- 
ers us to transform ourselves and the 
world. Herein lies our hope. . . . Faced 
with [our present] political and social 
realities, it is no wonder that some peo- 
ple look with anxiety toward the millen- 
nium. But it is not a question of the 
year 2000, or the year 3000, or whose 
calendar we are on. Perhaps the chal- 
lenge of the year 2000 is twofold: how 
to maintain a vision of a different kind 
of society, one based on solidarity and 
dedication to the common good rather 
than on isolation and selfishness, and 
how to implement that vision politically 
and economically so that history really 
begins to change in the right direction. 

Joe Mulligan 

Colegio Centro America 
Managua, Nicaragua 


What challenges me as a Jesuit at 
the end of another era with a view upon 
the next? I have had to watch my hopes 
and dreams in the Lord arise out of our 
history of the last two centuries. As a 
scholastic headed for a mission, I came 
to seek a life among the Tetons and La- 
kotas of the High Prairies. There I 
found my dreams associated with those 
of Pierre Jean De Smet, S.J., and with 

44 * Letters to the Editor 


one Catherine (whose full name I most 
probably will come to know only in 
eternal life). Meantime I have seen and 
heard it asked in numberless ways: What 
is the solution to the "Indian problem?" 
And as the millennium was rushing to 
an end, I saw Father Eugene Buechel, 
S.J., master of and entirely conversant in 
the Lakota Sioux language, pass to eter- 
nity. Along the way, then, I heard a 
mission director say, "Why not take and 
publish Buechel's collection of thirty 
thousand Siouan words?" That day for- 
ward a door stood open to fitting myself 
to that work and to the translation of 
archival texts. At the same time, we saw 
four of Red Cloud School graduates as- 
sist the tribe to build new homes, and 
five years later four others institute the 
Lakota Community College. Then came 
graduates to colleges throughout the 
country. And the future of this third 
millennium? As usual, the joys and sor- 
rows of a growing family/tribe will be 
with us. Work and problems too will be 
there. But in the bigger picture, as long 
as we learn to pray well, faith and hope 
will be challenged in us all. We shall 
recall those recent days when we saw 
the first American Indian seek and be- 
come a deacon, and heard him preach 
the Word of God. We have seen another 
in Rome walking across Saint Peter's 
piazza and shaking hands, pipe in hand, 
with Pope John Paul II. Yes, we shall 
continue to "come and see," and hear. 

Paul Manhart, S.J. 

Our Lady of Sorrows Church 
Kyle, SD 57752-0398 

My greatest challenge as a Jesuit at 
the beginning of this millennium is to 
continue to grow in relationship to 
God, others, self and nature. Additional 
important challenges: I feel sad as I see 
some of my elder brothers decline in 
health. I'm wondering how to speak of 
our falling numbers and smaller entrance 
groups. The word "diminishment" does 
not, in my view, adequately express the 
seriousness or immediacy of the situa- 
tion. It might be too threatening to hy- 
pothesize that we are dying. In what 
ways can I support our younger men in 
their hopes and hardships? I need to ac- 
knowledge my own aging process as it 
affects my life and ministry and to let go 
of certain productivity expectations. 

My life has never been threatened 
because of my involvement with the 
poor. What do the murders of Jesuits in 
El Salvador, India, Rwanda, and in other 
countries say about the significance of 
my advocacy? I wonder whether and 
how to raise the issue of emotional liter- 
acy as a formation- and renewal-of-apos- 
tolic-community-life concern. I feel a 
desire to go out to Muslims and other 
religious and ethnic groups with whom I 
am unfa mili ar I am committed to in- 
creasing my ability to use computer 
technology as a tool for apostolic effec- 

Jim Radde, S.J. 

Georgetown Court 

5820 E. River Rd., Apt. 211 

Minneapolis, MN 55432 


"What challenges me as a Jesuit at 
the beginning of the new millennium?" 


What challenges me as a Jesuit at 
the beginning of the millennium? 

A big challenge that I feel and am 
growing in awareness of is discovering 

Letters to the Editor 


:■-:■■:■ ■■. ■<■:■: . 

how to share the earth and the fruits of 
it more fully with our brothers and sis- 
ters in the Third World and the poor 
everywhere. We have so much and they 
have so little. Most refugees do not even 
have a home; many poor barely have a 
home, food, clean water, medical care, 
normal security, all of which we take 
for granted. 

Along with the above, I am chal- 
lenged to live more simply and am un- 
comfortable in some of our houses. In 

this regard, I think of the condition of 
the poor that live around us, both here 
in Kentucky and in most of our cities. I 
ask myself: How can I help change our 
culture so that those who have more 
will share with those who have less? 

John L. KiefTer, S.J. 

Route 5, Box 422 
Livingston, KY 40445 


Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 

(For prices, see inside back cover.) 

1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969) 

1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969) 

2/1 Burke, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970) 

2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970) 

2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970) 

3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971) 

3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971) 

3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of God's Will (Sept. 1971) 

3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971) 

4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972) 

4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972) 

4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium 
(Oct. 1972) 

5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan. -Mar. 1973) 

5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973) 

5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973) 

5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973) 

6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974) 

7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today Qan. 1975) 

7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975) 

7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975) 

7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General 

Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975) 

8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence Qan. 1976) 

8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty 
(Mar.-May 1976) 

8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976) 

9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations 
(Jan.-Mar. 1977) 

9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977). 

9/5 Gill, A Jesuit's Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977) 

10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978) 

10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land 

(Sept. 1978) 

11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979) 

11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979) 

11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979) 

11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979) 

12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic 

Communities (Mar. 1980) 

12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980) 

12/4-5 Schineller, Newer Approaches to Christology and Their Use in the Spiritual Exercises (Sept. -Nov. 

13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life 0an. 1981) 

13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981) 

13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981) 

14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St. Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982) 

14/2 Dulles, St. Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982) 

14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982) 

14/5 Ivern, The Future of Faith and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982) 

15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (Jan. 1983) 

15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Chansms > \ 


15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the 

Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983) 

Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984) 

O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jerommo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar. 


16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984) 

16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984) 

16/5 Kinerk, Eliciting Great Desires: Their Place in the Spirituality of the Society of Jesus (Nov. 1984) 

17/1 Spohn, St. Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (Jan. 1985) 

17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985) 

17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985) 

17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985) 

17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985) 

18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986). 

18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986) 

18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986) 

18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986). 

19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (Jan. 1987) 

19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987) 

19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987) 

20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988) 

20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988) 

20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988) 

20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988) 

20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988) 

21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (Jan. 1989) 

21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989) 

21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989) 

22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (Jan. 1990) 

22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990) 

22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990) 

22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feelings, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990) 

22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990) 

23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled (Jan. 1991) 

23/2 DiGiacomo, Ministering to the Young (March 1991) 

23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991) 

23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991) 

23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991) 

24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992) 

24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992) 

24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992) 

24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992) 

24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992) 

25/2 Donahue, What Does the Lord Require? (March 1993)-ONCE AGAIN AVAILABLE 

25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993) 

25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993) 

25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993) 

26/1 Tetlow, The Most Postmodern Prayer (Jan. 1994) 

26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994) 

26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994) 

26/4 Foley, Stepping into the River (Sept. 1994) 

26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994) 

27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995) 

27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995) 

27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995) 

27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995) 

27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995) 

28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996) 

28/2 Veale, Saint Ignatius Speaks about "Ignatian Prayer" (March 1996) 

28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996) 

28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996) 

28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996) 

29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997) 

29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997) 

29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997) 

29/4 Keenan, Are Informationes Ethical? (Sept. 1997) 

29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997) 

30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi ofLudolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of 

Ignatius of Loyola (Jan. 1998) 

30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . for So . . . )?" (March 1998) 

30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998) 

30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998) 

30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998) 

31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999) 

31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999) 

31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999) 

31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999) 

31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J.: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999) 

32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000) 

32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000) 


The Spiritual Writings of Pierre Favre 
The Memoriale and Selected Letters and Instructions 

This is a long-awaited first full English translation from 
the definitive critical edition of Favre's works in the 
Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu. 

A spiritual autobiography is a record of God's dealings 
with an individual and the person's response to God. Pierre 
Favre's Memoriale is fully in that tradition. 

Favre, the person whom Ignatius of Loyola thought the 
best director of the Spiritual Exercises, left as a legacy both a 
spiritual autobiography/diary traditionally called the Memoriale 
and a series of letters and instructions. 

The twenty-seven selected letters and instructions range 
across time, space and recipients, in time from 1540 to 1546, in 
space from almost one end of Western Europe to the other. 
The recipients include, among many others, Ignatius Loyola in 
Rome and Francis Xavier in India, King John III of Portugal 
and a confraternity of laypersons, and a Carthusian prior in 
Cologne and a group setting out on a pilgrimage. 

The introduction places Favre's life and work in its 
historical setting, discusses the characteristics of spiritual 
autobiography, deals with the discernment of spirits in Favre's 
work, describes the several versions of the text of the 
Memoriale, puts in context the letters and instructions included 
in this volume, and tells what happened to the memory of and 
devotion to Favre after his death. 

xvi + 437 pp. Glossary, Indexes 
Hardcover: ISBN 1-880810-25-5 / $57.95 plus postage 
Paperback: ISBN 1-880810-26-3 / $39.95 plus postage 

The Institute of Jesuit Sources 
3700 W. Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108 
Telephone 314-977-7257 / FAX 314-977-7263 


William A. Barry, S J. 
"Our Way of Proceeding" 

General Congregation 34 chose to 
keep the Jesuit Constitutions as 
Ignatius wrote them, but to indicate in 
the text those parts that had been 
abrogated, modified, or explained in 
the years since the first general congre- 
gation approved Ignatius's document. 
And thus the authoritative version of 
the Constitutions that we now have 
includes both the constitutions that 
Ignatius wrote, and also a set of com- 
plementary norms. Fr. Barry has taken 
this authoritative version and from it 
selected sections that form a series of 
prayerful considerations, lasting over a 
period of some seventeen weeks (each 
subdivided into six days) and provid- 
ing rich and abundant matter for 
consideration, discussion, and prayer. 
The goal of this book is to give access 
to such an interior knowledge of the 
characteristic Jesuit manner of acting, 
or "way of proceeding," that one will 
almost instinctively act in this way. 

Paper: ISBN 1-880810-30-1 • $12.95 
Series iy n. 19 • pp. vii + 190 

Philip Caraman, SJ. 
Tibet: The Jesuit Century 

Between 1624 and 1721, on five occa- 
sions Jesuit explorers made their diffi- 
cult and perilous way to Tibet. The) 7 
had no experience of others to guide 
them, and no maps. They encountered 
hardships and dangers that test mod- 
em mountaineers with all their sophis- 
ticated equipment. One of their num- 
ber, Antonio de Andrade, was the first 
European to look down on the plains 
of Tibet; two others, Johannes 
Grueber and Albert d'Orville, search- 
ing for an overland route from China to 
India, were the first Europeans to reach 
Lhasa. Perhaps the most famous of the 
explorers was the Italian Jesuit Ippolito 
Desideri, who for five years lived with 
the Tibetans and studied their religion, 
language, and customs. 

Fr. Caraman' s book gives the fasci- 
nating story of these adventurous 
European Jesuit travels across the roof 
of the world to meet in peace and 
friendship a people yet unknown to 
much of that world. 

Paper: ISBN 1-880810-29-8 • $14.95 
Series IY no. 20 • pp. viii + 154 

tel 314-977-7257 fax 314-977-7263 e-mail IJS@SLU.EDU 



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